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Obama and Global Warming

COPENHAGEN – In one of his first public policy statements as America’s president-elect, Barack Obama focused on climate change, and clearly stated both his priorities and the facts on which these priorities rest. Unfortunately, both are weak, or even wrong.

Obama’s policy outline was presented via video to California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Governors’ Global Warming Summit, and has again been shown in Poznan, Poland, to leaders assembled to flesh out a global warming roadmap. According to Obama, “few challenges facing America and the world are more urgent than combating climate change.”

Such a statement is now commonplace for most political leaders around the world, even though it neglects to address the question of how much we can do to help America and the world through climate policies versus other policies.

Consider, for example, hurricanes in America. Clearly, a policy of reducing CO2 emissions would have had zero consequence on Katrina’s devastating impact on New Orleans, where such a disaster was long expected. Over the next half-century, even large reductions in CO2 emissions would have only a negligible impact.