By George F. Will, Friday, January 25, 2013
Happy days are not here again, but they are coming for conservatives. Barack Obama — with the lowest approval rating (according to Gallup, 50 percent, four points lower than that of the National Rifle Association) of any reelected president when inaugurated since World War II — has a contradictory agenda certain to stimulate a conservative revival.
Consider his vow to expend political capital on climate change. The absurdity of the Kyoto approach — global climate treaties agreed to by 190 nations — is now obvious even to most former enthusiasts. Obama can propose cutting U.S. fossil-fuel emissions (just 16 percent of the global total) with a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade scheme, but Congress will pass neither. So he will be reduced to administrative gestures costly to job growth, and government spending — often crony capitalism — for green energy incommensurate with his rhetoric.
He says that “the threat of climate change” is apparent in “raging fires,” “crippling drought” and “more powerful storms.” Are fires raging now more than ever? (There were a third fewer U.S. wildfires in 2012 than in 2006.) Are the number and severity of fires determined by climate change rather than forestry and land-use practices? Is today’s drought worse than, say, that of the Dust Bowl, and was it caused by 1930s global warming? As for “more powerful storms”: