It seems that the man-made global warming scare, long promoted by those opposed to the burning of fossil fuel, is now behind us.
It turns out that there is no unanimity of scientists supporting man-made global warming theory and never has been. It's also now becoming widely recognized that there is no incontrovertible evidence that global warming is caused by human activity, and that there is quite a bit of evidence that human activity is not a primary cause of such warming.
It's becoming better known that for at least 240,000 years, a rise in CO2 has followed rather than preceded global warming. This squares with the reality that the oceans hold the vast majority of the Earth's carbon, and when the oceans warm, they release some of their gases into the atmosphere.
In fact, more than 95 percent of the much-touted Greenhouse Effect is the result of water vapor in the Earth's atmosphere, and carbon dioxide is a very tiny component of our atmosphere, comprising less than .04 of 1 percent of all gases present.
That information like this was not widely known until recently was, in part, a testament to the effectiveness of the global warming alarmists in suppressing the publication of dissenting opinion. But that suppression was exposed in the 2009 "Climategate" scandal, and the dialogue on climate change then improved drastically.
As a result, the American public no longer believes that man is primarily responsible for global warming. In monthly Rasmussen polling over the past two years, an average of 46 percent of those polled said that natural causes are responsible for global warming, while an average of 38 percent answered that human activity is the cause.
So, with the global warming scare behind us, we can return to worrying about and trying to solve real problems, right? Well, not quite yet. You see, we still have these regulations, pacts and plans that have evolved over the years — and are still evolving — to save the Earth from the catastrophe that was supposedly on the horizon.
For example, the European Union recently announced that beginning in 2012 it will be extending its cap-and-trade system tax to all airlines entering or leaving its airports, a tax that will likely be passed on to passengers on trans-Atlantic flights in the form of higher fares.
The U.S. government is currently in the process of tightening existing greenhouse gas emission standards for vehicles sold here. And California has mandated that starting in 2012, major automakers will have to produce a certain number of zero-emissions vehicles (those that run on electricity) in order to cut greenhouse gas emissions.
Locally, Maryland has been very active over the past few years in efforts to protect its residents from the effects of climate change and to reduce the state's contribution to the problem. The state is one of 10 Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states that belong to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a consortium that regulates the energy sector's CO2 emissions.
In 2007, Gov. Martin O'Malley established the Maryland Commission on Climate Change to address the causes of climate change and to help us prepare for the likely consequences. The commission's 2008 report, "Climate Action Plan," presented strategies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and recommended development of state Smart Growth plans for protecting vulnerable areas.
Maryland's Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act of 2009 requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions 25 percent by 2020 and directs the Maryland Department of the Environment to develop a plan to accomplish that goal.
The Maryland Department of Planning recently issued a revised draft of PlanMaryland — the state's plan for sustainable growth and development — which will soon be presented to the governor. The plan is premised, in part, on a link between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. It identifies locations in Maryland thought to be especially vulnerable to the effects of global warming and makes provisions to protect them to the extent possible from these effects.
The list goes on and on.
There is obviously nothing that can be done about the time and resources we've wasted so far attempting to address a non-existent problem. But one would think that at this point we'd be closing the faucet to stop the flow of money down the drain.
And given the influence a project like PlanMaryland is expected to have on growth in the state for decades, one would also think that we'd be reviewing and pulling from the plan any provision based on the bad premise of man-made global warming.
All those in favor …
Richard Haddad, a Westminster resident, is a retired management executive who writes on political and social issues. His email is email@example.com.