A WALL Street billionaire is pledging to spend "whatever it takes" to make manmade global warming the "defining issue of our generation."
Most recently, he paid for airplanes to fly over Boston, Mass., with banners that read, "Steve Lynch for Oil Evil Empire."
U.S. Rep. Stephen Lynch (D., Mass.), a Senate hopeful, favors the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline and the jobs it would create.
"The goal here is not to win," said Tom Steyer, who assembled his $1.4 billion fortune as a hedge fund manager. "The goal here is to destroy these people. We want a smashing victory."
That is, smash any politicians who might "wimp out" on the harsh policies necessary to change the world into Steyer's "green energy" image.
Notice, however, that Steyer isn't offering to help pay for the extra cost of the green energy systems he demands. That would cost too much even for a billionaire.
Germany's Environment Minister Peter Altmeier recently disclosed that his country's green energy transition will cost $1.31 trillion! Moreover, that $1.31 trillion would fund only the green energy transition for Germany, a small country with just 82 million people.
Using Germany's rate of $15,000 per capita, would the 7 billion people of the world look forward to spending $100 trillion for the whole global green transformation? There isn't that much money in the world, and with green energy limitations, there won't ever be that much.
Green energy also costs more to operate, and it wouldn't even reduce carbon dioxide emissions because there isn't any really "green" energy.
Europe's solar and wind energy are so erratic that they must be backed 90% by fossil fuel power plants in "spinning reserve." The only real "solution" for the carbon dioxide problem is nuclear energy, which isn't on anybody's ballot.
Steyer also needs to be aware of the limitations even with a victory at the polls. A narrow win like President Barack Obama's last won't be enough to force energy policy that the average American viscerally opposes.
The shale gas revolution is now in full swing, thanks to America's private property laws and the public's recent cheerful experience with "fracking." Natural gas is far cheaper here than in Europe, where chemical and plastics makers are shifting their investments to expand the jobs here instead.
It is doubtful that even the Environmental Protection Agency will dare to try to push the shale gas back underground -- or that an administration can continue to govern effectively while defending such a rule.
Add in the recent discovery of 3 trillion tons of coal undersea off the coast of Norway and recent successes in bringing up natural gas from massive deposits of methane hydrates underneath the Pacific (Japan) and tundra (Alaska).
Steyer's final hurdle, of course, is the lack of climate warming. Satellite readings show no warming trend since 1997. There has been only a modest warming since 1940, even with the official thermometers shifting ever more heavily into urban heat islands. Also, the ice record tells us that the Earth's temperature naturally shifts, abruptly, by 2-4 degrees C roughly every 700 years. The modelers can't explain why the modern warming is different from the medieval warming.
The current non-warming trend -- and very possibly a moderate cooling -- is likely to last until about 2037 because of a Pacific cooling cycle. Steyer's billion will run out long before then.
*Dennis T. Avery is an environmental economist and a senior fellow for the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C. He was formerly a senior analyst for the U.S. Department of State. He is co-author, with S. Fred Singer, of Unstoppable Global Warming Every 1500 Years.