The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO


February 5, 2014

Geoff Caldwell, columnist: Obama's trifecta: Climate, inequality, immigration

JOPLIN, Mo. — Judging from President Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech, his plan for 2014 is to repeat 2012. Forget the facts, leave ethics at the door, hit early and hit often.

Enter the shiny objects for the midterm elections: climate change, income inequality and immigration reform.

This week, I’d like to talk about the other side of climate change. In coming columns, I’ll offer some perspectives on inequality and immigration.

In his speech, the president stated unequivocally: “Climate change is a fact.” On Sunday’s “Meet the Press,” Obama’s chief of staff, Denis McDonough, spoke of “terrible drought in the West, including in California, as a result of climate change.”

No one argues the fact of climate change. It’s a fact as old as Earth itself.

The climate has changed so much that in the late 1970s, I was running my hay rig across the bottom of what was once a great inland sea. The Sahara Desert hasn’t always been so dry. There was even a change quite recently (in climatological terms) that saw vineyards thrive in medieval England.

The question before us today is not whether the climate is in flux. The question is to what degree man is responsible and just how much we should damage our economy to fight a battle trumpeted by a select special-interest group.

The president and his supporters use consensus to buttress their “Earth will end without immediate action” claim, but they leave out the conflict of interest of scientists who depend on public funding for their research and then produce findings that beget more public funding.

Enter Richard Lindzen, an atmospheric physicist with over 200 hundred published papers and books and who was the Alfred P. Sloan professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from 1983 to 2013.

Much like Copernicus and Galileo in centuries past, Lindzen dares question the orthodoxy of this modern Church of Climatology and its quickness to protect its dogma at all costs.

With such heretical statements as “To say that climate change will be catastrophic hides a cascade of value-laden assumptions that do not emerge from empirical science,” Lindzen cautions that rushing to act on politically motivated assumptions could do far more harm than good.

As the predictions of the consensus are proving less and less accurate, more and more Lindzens are returning to skepticism over political correctness and consensus.

Voices once silent are beginning to question the causes of climate change and the direness of the predictions that have been made.

Everyone can agree that cleaner energy is preferred.  But that “clean” energy is not yet economically viable. A common-sense approach would continue to fund research on cleaner energy while expanding current resources and methods to keep energy prices low and grow jobs and the overall economy for all Americans. Call it a John F. Kennedy “rising tide” for the 21st century.

But in this ideology-driven White House, common sense doesn’t get a seat at the table.

While Obama talks publicly of an “all of the above” energy strategy, his Environmental Protection Agency is throwing thousands out of work and keeping energy prices artificially high for tens of millions of the poorest of the poor — all for the sake of pleasing his political base.

If any other president played such politics with the lives of the poor, the New York Times editorial page would have already printed articles of impeachment.

Feel free to look at the shiny objects, but don’t stare too long.  Blindness to reason is a known side effect.

Geoff Caldwell writes on national and international affairs. He lives in Joplin. Contact him at

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