Obama appears ready to turn the Executive Branch of the U.S. into a branch of the United Nations (namely, the IPCC).
It's always risky to make predictions based on the statements of the ever-elastic Mr. Obama. I'm not saying he's a liar. He's more the prototypical post-modern piece of rubber. Like so many of his persuasion, whatever he says is 'true' inside his head, for at least five minutes. Five minutes later, the exact opposite can be true with no facts having changed. That's because for a man like Mr. Obama, there's no such thing as an inflexible fact. There is only what A says, and B's opinion, and C's heartfelt belief, and so forth.
But psychoanalysis aside, it's still true that he will make choices, decisions that will affect all of us. The consequences are shaping up to be not so pretty. For, despite his chameleon-like nature there are some statements he tends to stick with. His views, to the extent that an opaque vessel like Obama can be said to have any, are straight out of the environmentalist's handbook:
AGW true. Catastrophic climate change on the way, thanks to human industrial production. Solar power feasible. Wind farms practical. Electric cars for everyone. Alternative energy preferable.
All these beliefs have been examined now for over 20 years, and found wanting in every case.
The evidence for the hypothesis of anthropogenic global warming was always thin. Now the evidence against it is mounting to near certainty. Even were it true, the degree of severity predicted is so minuscule as to be unworthy of the cost of swapping out an incandescent bulb. (See Appeal to Reason by Nigel Lawson for details.)
Solar power shows few signs of becoming a feasible alternative even to replace hydroelectric (about 6% of the total, and concentrated in a few states), much less coal (48%). Wind generated electricity is even less practical as a substantial source, except in special parts of the world (like portions of Spain where the wind blows all the time).
His plan for 1 million plug-in hybrid cars getting 150 miles per gallon by 2015 is pure fantasy. If there were a profitable market for such vehicles, one that didn't rely on massive tax breaks, they would already be well along in development. Even with tax breaks and direct investments — using Federal funds that obviously don't exist in the current economy — the hope is slim indeed. (That's all apart from the sheer injustice of taking from the taxpayers to fund the programs in the first place.)
His plan to "[e]nsure 10 percent of our electricity comes from renewable sources by 2012, and 25 percent by 2025" is even more fantastic, not to say disingenuous. Renewables already provide 12%, 10% in the form of hydroelectric, according to the EIA. (Yes, this differs from the 7% quoted above. Such are the vagaries of government sources. In their defense, they're hard things to measure.)
To imagine that could increase by 2 ½ times in 16 years is laughable. That's particularly true when you consider how actively environmentalists are trying to close hydroelectric dams (and how much success they've had to date, which is considerable).
No one, of course, can predict with certainty what technological breakthroughs may come in the future. But, note what is missing from Mr. Obama's wish list: nuclear power, a safe, ultra-low pollution, proven source of large-scale electricity generation that is already here. That it is missing provides a clue to the environmentalist mindset.
As Robert Tracinski and Jack Wakeland have noted many times in recent years, any time a technology does approach viability, the viros will do everything they can to shut it down. As I have noted above, no facts about any technology have anything to do with their actions — except the fact that people actually benefit from industrial civilization, which they seek to end.
Mr. Obama is their perfect representative. Having demonstrated with what casual ease he's willing to bankrupt the coal industry in pursuit of his environmentalist views, he is now preparing to put his plans into action.
Of all his plans, however, the desire to "[i]mplement an economy-wide cap-and-trade program to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 80 percent by 2050" is the most dangerous. It's bad enough to waste 150 billion of the taxpayers money on impractical schemes. But to use an ever-fading theory as justification for hobbling all CO2-producing businesses, i.e. all of them, is beyond an impractical scheme. It represents a wholesale assault on industrial civilization itself.
And since industrial civilization equals human civilization as we've come to enjoy it, this is nothing less than an effort to return all of us to the Dark Ages. Were he to be successful, there would be no more need to hector anyone to turn off their lights. Fortunately, even most of those who voted for him are likely to become disenchanted long before he can get very far.