Stolen from WSJ 14 January, 2016
The Climate Intelligence Agency
Democratic CO2 obsessions reach new comic height
Business World Columnist Holman Jenkins Jr. on why Democrats fail to advance their environmental policy agenda.
Democrats must have concluded that climate change will defeat Donald Trump’s nominees, or perhaps the subject’s omnipresence at the confirmation hearings merely reflects their own political preoccupations, or their rich donors’. Whatever the reason, no job is too irrelevant for global warming to intrude.
Perhaps you think Mr. Trump named Mike Pompeo to the Central Intelligence Agency because of his spycraft expertise, or to defeat terror groups. Kamala Harris has other ideas. The new California Senator burned her question time on Thursday cross-examining Mr. Pompeo about “the scientific consensus” on global warming.
Citing NASA and “most of the leading scientific organizations world-wide,” Ms. Harris repeatedly asked about the human contribution to climate trends. “Do you have any reason to doubt NASA’s findings?” Mr. Pompeo replied that “I, frankly, as the director of CIA would prefer today not to get into the details of climate debate and science. It just seems—my role is going to be so different.”
When Ms. Harris kept pressing, Mr. Pompeo dryly replied, “I do know the agency’s role. Its role is to collect foreign intelligence.”
Meanwhile, in a nine-page questionnaire to Ben Carson, who is being sent to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Elizabeth Warren wanted to learn what the doctor thought about “C0 2 and other greenhouse gas emissions,” because extreme weather like flooding poses “a significant risk to public housing.”
“What other actions will you take to adapt to or prevent climate change while you are HUD Secretary?” Ms. Warren wondered. Maybe Dr. Carson’s tenure will be the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and the planet began to heal.
At least Rex Tillerson would have some relation to climate policy at the State Department, such as the Paris carbon deal. But Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley wanted to know about the mountain pine beetle, an invasive forest species he claimed was expanding as a result of warming.
Mr. Tillerson called warming a “serious risk” and added that “the facts on the ground are indisputable in terms of what’s happening with drought, disease, uh, insects, all the things you cite,” though he also mentioned “uncertainty” about the scientific models and the economic cost of a response. That was too much for Mr. Merkley, who said he’d oppose the nomination.
The real meltdown is scheduled for next week, when Scott Pruitt will be grilled about leading the Environmental Protection Agency. Washington’s Patty Murray has called the Oklahoma Attorney General “a climate change denier,” New Hampshire’s Jeanne Shaheen claimed the nomination was “a capitulation to polluters,” and Bernie Sanders said on CNN that “it is rather ironic that Mr. Trump has nominated somebody to head the EPA who doesn’t much believe in environmental protection.”
Mr. Pruitt has a scrappy legal background, including a constitutional challenge to the EPA’s abusive Clean Power Plan, but the real irony is that his environmental record, as traditionally understood, is strong. As AG, he negotiated a state compact with Arkansas to clean up phosphorous pollution in the Illinois River, lobbied for the federal 2016 Frank Lautenberg Chemical Safety Act, and sued poultry farms that didn’t control waste runoff as well as oil companies with leaking underground storage tanks.
That these achievements no longer count as environmental protection shows how far the progressive carbon panic has gone