Manhattan will be a dangerous place this week for President Obama, where the terminally envious of the world are waiting at the United Nations with envy, arrogance and outstretched begging bowls.
The diplomats representing the envious countries, some of them little more than tribes with flags and an embassy in a rooming house on a side street in Washington, have cooked up an interesting week to blunt the skepticism of a growing number of scientists who are finding the courage to say what they believed all along, even as Ban Ki-moon, the secretary-general of the United Nations, and others insist that time is running out to make the sun change its spots, the tides recede and the weather behave itself.
The London Guardian reports that the U.N. chief and global-warming negotiators "say that unless they can convert world leaders into committed advocates of radical action it will be hard … to avoid the most devastating consequences of climate change."
If true, that's good news for the rest of us, because "the most devastating consequences" would be enactment of Al Gore's nightmare vision, to give the bureaucrats of the world all the taxes they can spend while bankrupting the most productive countries of the West.
The ambassador of the European Union to the United States is in particular need of a shot of Midol and a nice lie down until he feels better. Sen. Harry Reid's disclosure that the U.S. Senate won't take up cap-and-trade legislation, the centerpiece of "controlling" the effects of global warming, until next year has thrown the Europeans into a royal pout.
"Sometimes in this country," says EU Ambassador John Bruton, the greatest deliberative body in the world acts as though it is the only deliberative body in the world, and we should wait until it gets health care passed. The … world cannot wait on the Senate's timetable."
Organizers of global-warming week at the U.N. are determined to "imbue leaders with a new sense of purpose," one of the organizers tells the Guardian. Instead of speeches, leaders of big countries and small countries - some we've never heard of - will spend the day communing with each other. Britain, for example, will be paired with Guyana, Tuvalu with the Netherlands, Mongolia with the European Union.
There will be no respite from global warming at dinner, which will be a good hot meal (no Wonder Bread and cold cuts). Leaders of big countries will be regaled with whines by the likes of Bangladesh, Kiribati and Costa Rica. Kiribati is said to be one of the "primary victims" of global warming. Who knew? (U.S. Marines will not so fondly remember Kiribati as Tarawa, one of the fiercest island battles of World War II.)
"We need these leaders to go outside their comfort zones," explains one of the organizers. "Our sense is that leaders have got a little too cozy and comfortable. They really have to hear from countries that are vulnerable and suffering."
None of the delegates will hear any dissent from the mantra that the sky is falling, that only socking it to the taxpayers of the West can save us from being boiled in saltwater. But ghost stories told around the campfire, of melting ice caps and polar bears floating past Duluth, are losing their power to terrify. Slowly but inevitably, verifiable facts are dissolving the fondest fantasies of Al Gore's hired scientists.
A new book by an Australian geologist, Ian Plimer, professor of mining geology at the University of Adelaide, argues that scientific fact has overwhelmed the doomsday scenarios of sinking islands, rising temperatures and collapsing ice shelves. He argues that global warming, which has naturally occurred over the billions of years of the Earth's life, has often been a cycle of wealth and plenty. The Romans grew lemons, limes and oranges as far north as Hadrian's Wall.
This naturally causes heartburn in certain labs and faculty lounges.
"They say I rape cows, eat babies and that I know nothing about anything," he says. But the professor is not susceptible to the usual smear that he is a right-wing religious nut. He's actually a member of the Humanist Society and wrote an earlier book attacking creationism, making him at one with the atheists, infidels and heretics who wear unbelief as scientific credentials.
American presidents always get grief abroad for looking out for American interests. Life was tough for Gulliver, too. But Lilliputians in every age are merely irritants, like ticks and mosquitos. President Obama should keep that in mind this week in New York.