Obama's job is national defense, not climate change

Wednesday, May 27, 2015
Star Parker - Guest Columnist

Star ParkerScience in the hands of politicians who invest other people's money is a formula for failure and waste. Let private citizens make the call on this – and let the president do what the Constitution calls him to do: protect us.

A front-page headline in The Wall Street Journal screams out: "Islamic State's Gains Reveal New Prowess on the Battlefield."

The article discusses how the Islamic State recently captured Ramadi, the capital of Anbar province in Iraq. The Islamic State victory, according to the report, involved the execution of a complex battle plan "that outwitted a greater force of Iraqi troops as well as the much lauded U.S.-trained special-operations force known as the Golden Division."

Flipping to the editorial page, an opinion piece discusses the increasing dominance of Russia, Iran and China in their parts of the world "as the U.S. retreats."

But what is keeping America's commander in chief up at night?

President Obama spent most of his recent address to the graduating class of the U.S. Coast Guard Academy talking about climate change.

According to our president, climate change "constitutes a serious threat to global security, an immediate risk to our national security."

The president continued to say that the science regarding climate change is "indisputable."

Why in the world would anyone think it is a good idea for a politician to determine what is good science? Science in the hands of politicians who invest other people's money is a formula for failure and waste.

In 2013, the president tweeted: "Ninety-seven percent of scientists agree: climate change is real, manmade and dangerous."

But this is false.

Ross McKitrick, an economist at the University of Guelph and a senior fellow at Canada's Fraser Institute, and others have pointed out the dubious methodology used to arrive at the claim that 97 percent of scientists agree on climate change science. It's not even close to being accurate.

More representative is a 2012 survey done of the American Meteorological Society. McKitrick reported that less than 30 percent of AMS members participated, and of them, 52 percent said that "they think global warming over the 20th century has happened and is mostly manmade." In the same survey, 53 percent agreed that "there is conflict among AMS members on the question."

So why is our president misrepresenting the facts? And why is the president not focusing exclusively on the job the Constitution assigns to him: assuming the responsibilities of prudently deploying American military power to keep America safe, secure and strong around the world? And why is the president usurping the job of private citizens: assessing scientific data regarding market risks and deciding how private capital should be invested?

We have plenty of experience with what happens when politicians decide it's their business to invest our money.

Several years ago, the Obama administration, under the rationale of developing alternative energy sources, provided a $536 million loan, guaranteed by U.S. taxpayers, to a solar energy technology company called Solyndra.

The president himself went to the plant in California and praised the "incredible cutting-edge solar panels." In his remarks, he went on about the impossibility of fossil fuels continuing to provide our energy needs.

One year later, Solyndra declared bankruptcy, leaving U.S. taxpayers on the hook.

Meanwhile, since 2009, when the U.S. government provided the loan guarantee to Solyndra, U.S. petroleum production has increased by almost 170 percent as a result of new drilling technologies our president never dreamed of. The U.S. is now the largest petroleum producer in the world.

The bottom line: Science in the hands of private individuals who put their own capital at risk and whose survival depends on making good judgments and risk assessments produces the new and unforeseen and drives our economy upward.

Science in the hands of politicians who invest other people's money is a formula for failure and waste.

Why in the world would anyone think it is a good idea for a politician to determine what is good science and impose hundreds of billions of dollars in new burdens on American consumers based on speculation about what is going on with the climate?

Let private citizens make the call on this. And let the president do his job and build our military and properly use it to protect us around the world.


Star Parker (parker@urbancure.org) is an author and president of CURE, the Center for Urban Renewal and Education.

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