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November 27th, 2009 12:36 pm
Ignoring the Evidence on Climate Change

Whither evidence-based public policy? In the wake of the metastasizing scandal over falsified global warming data, the Obama Administration is acting as though the only debate over climate change is when to stop it. As Richard Wolffe reports, President Obama’s recent Asia trip was a crucial part of brokering a deal to set new restrictions on carbon emissions at next month’s Copenhagen conference.

Beyond the photo ops and press statements, Obama was pushing President Hu Jintao and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh for the kind of climate deals that eluded him at the G8 summit in Italy in the summer – and have eluded international negotiators for the last decade. China and India have played central roles in blocking past agreements, alongside the US, in a seemingly intractable dispute between fast-developing economies and the older, wealthier polluters.

Now Obama is at the point where he feels on the verge of a breakthrough, based on the kind of talks that don’t get covered by reporters obsessing about state dinners. “He had extensive conversations with President Hu specifically on climate and conversations with the prime minister of India,” said one senior White House aide. “So he has been building momentum for a political agreement to be brokered at Copenhagen.”

This is another example of what Obama meant during the campaign when he said as president he would “turn the page” on the old debates dividing America. Then, as now, the only page turning to be done is when it dismisses the opposition as unserious and uninformed. How tragic if the president succeeds in realizing Al Gore’s dream of a voluntary global energy contraction just as news is surfacing that the very data supporting it is corrupt.

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