A coal miner looks down as U.S. Republican presidential candidate Romney speaks during the Beallsville Coal event at the American Energy Corporation in Beallsville

On Tuesday, President Obama announced a sweeping series of initiatives, including the use of executive powers, to combat global warming. The plan will involve federal funding for renewable energy technology, and spending for areas hit by storms and droughts aggravated by an allegedly changing climate. Yet the most ambitious part of his agenda is an effort to force a reduction in so-called greenhouse gases from the nation’s coal-fired power plants. Prior to the speech, Daniel P. Schrag, a White House environmentalism adviser and director of the Harvard University Center for the Environment, got to the nub of that agenda: “Politically, the White House is hesitant to say they’re having a war on coal,” he explained. “On the other hand, a war on coal is exactly what’s needed.” Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) explained the consequences of such a war. “Declaring a ‘War on Coal’ is tantamount to declaring a war on jobs,” he  said. “It’s tantamount to kicking the ladder out from beneath the feet of many Americans struggling in today’s economy.”

McConnell is exactly right. While the percentage has been declining, coal-fired power plants are still responsible for producing 40 percent of the nation’s electricity. Yet that is an overall number. Some states are far more dependent, including West Virginia, which garners 97 of its electrical needs from coal. Curtailing coal usage for generating electricity will invariably drive up the cost of purchasing electricity for households and businesses.

The president couldn’t care less. Like so many leftists, he has bought into the idea that any challenge to the global warming agenda is tantamount to heresy. ”We don’t have time for a meeting of the flat-Earth society,” Obama said. ”Sticking your head in the sand might make you feel safer, but it’s not going to protect you from the coming storm.”

The so-called coming storm may take a while to get here. A report released by Spiegel science journal reveals that global warming has stopped. “[Fifteen] years without warming are now behind us” writes Spiegel journalist Axel Bojanowski. ”The stagnation of global near-surface average temperatures shows that the uncertainties in the climate prognoses are surprisingly large.” Moreover, despite a report in March by The Economist noting that the world has added “roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010,” comprising “about a quarter of all the CO2 put there by humanity since 1750,” no global warming occurred during that time frame. In fact, some scientists are actually predicting that we may be on the verge of another Little Ice Age similar to the one that occurred from 1275 to 1300 A.D., due in large part to an unexplainable collapse in sunspot activity.

Which scientific camp is right? That is something the scientific community must determine, based on scientific evidence — not the political coercion that far too often accompanies government-funded studies. Yet the president has staked out his position irrespective of science. He is directing the EPA to draft rules on the allowable levels of carbon emissions by existing coal plants, rules he expects to be completed by 2015. Obama intends to reduce Americans’s greenhouse gas emissions 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2025. Under current law, the EPA has the authority to regulate greenhouse gases, due to a 2007 Supreme Court decision. However, under the provisions of that Clean Air Act, the EPA cannot do so on its own, but must develop standards in accordance with the states.

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