Viewpoint

Climate talks at odds with reality

Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, addresses world leaders at the Climate Change Conference outside Paris this week.
Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister, addresses world leaders at the Climate Change Conference outside Paris this week. AP

From an editorial in The Orange County Register on Tuesday:

President Barack Obama, on the opening day of the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris this week, said the event was “a turning point … the moment we finally determined we would save our planet.” French President Francois Hollande was more apocalyptic, warning the world was at a “breaking point” on climate change.

Also jetting in to attend the conference are former California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who signed the landmark Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006, which has greatly increased energy costs, and current Gov. Jerry Brown, who, before leaving California, blasted Republican governors and members of Congress for denying climate change.

Although some sort of agreement likely will be hammered out in Paris, the only real turning point at hand is that Obama soon will be gone from office. For one thing, the climate data used to justify Draconian regulations are just not reliable.

Then there’s the difficulty of getting an agreement with developing nations, who need fossil fuels to lift their peoples out of poverty. Last week, Secretary of State John Kerry branded India and its 1.25 billion people a “challenge” on climate change because they keep building carbon-spewing power plants. Arvind Subramanian, the Indian government’s chief economic adviser, replied that such an attitude was “climate imperialism” that would “spell disaster for India and other developing countries.” In addition, China this year OK’d the building of 115 coal-fired power plants.

In California, Schwarzenegger’s landmark legislation and other laws have increased energy costs so high that 15 percent of people in some counties suffer “energy poverty,” meaning 10 percent or more of their incomes go to energy. That’s a major reason California now has the nation’s highest poverty rate.

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