Much of the U.S. got hammered in January with record snowstorms and low temperatures that so far haven’t abated in February.  This has sparked even more debate about global warming. 

AccuWeather’s Joe Bastardi weighs in with his view.

It was  40 years ago that experts and the mainstream media were calling for a global Ice Age.

Being green may be the politically correct thing to do but for residents in Great Britain it comes ata realtively steep price.

According to the British price comparison website uSwitch households will pay an additional  £500 ($780) per year to help fund the investments untilities will need to make to comply with the government’s plan to develop low carbon power plants like wind farms and nuclear plants.

One possibility the government is considering is to levy a tax on coal and gas to make them more expensive than low carbon sources which will push up costs to the end user.

The real impetus behind the effort is largely due to European Union targets that mandate that Britain increase its share of energy from renewable sources from 3 to 15 percent without regard to cost.

To encourage the greening of the energy grid the government is planning to offer a guaranteed price for electricty which may result in more wind farms but as we have seen in the U.S. doesn’t mean it will be cheaper than energy  generated by coal or gas after the costs of construction are factored in.

Even though energy secretary Chris Huhne  dismisses the claims of higher costs  the Department of Energy and Climate Change admitted t that electricity prices would rise, but that it was still best for consumers.

So I guess it depends on who you trust more the government or the energy industry.

With winter having already arrived in Britain energy costs are already on the rise and with the global recession still lingering the last thing households need is a politically manipulated energy policy that will cost them more while delivering few net benefits.

In less than one month after the much hyped U.N. Climate Change Conference much of Europe and parts of the U.S. were hit by a series of snowstorms and cold weather that has frayed nerves and cost businesses thousands of dollars in lost business and productivity and in the case of  farmers in Ireland over $20 million at last count in ruined potatoes and produce.

How bad has this winter been so far?  According to the New York Times Grenoble France received almost a foot of snow, something they haven’t seen in 20 years,  Spain was forced to bring in the Army to clear roads, 100,000 people in Poland lost power and the Eurostar train that runs from Paris to London was forced to run only one train in each direction  due to harsh weather conditions.

Germany which hailed Obama during his presidential campaign and has been quick to endorse the cutting of carbon emissions now finds itself facing up to $3 billion of losses due to snow and cold temperatures.

But does all this cold weather mean that global warming or climate change is a hoax as conservatives charge?  Yes and no.  For me a cold winter is no more an example that global warming is a hoax as a very hot summer means that the earth’s temperature is warming and that we are headed for disaster.

What it does prove is that temperatures and climate are cyclical.  Remember we get El Nino bringing in especially hot weather in some years and La Nina is accompanied by cooler weather in others.

That is what the left though fails to recognize as they constantly preach their message that we have to take drastic and costly action now otherwise we will face as Al Gore said a twenty foot wall of water coming down on us.

And what about David Viner a senior research scientist at the Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia in Britain who predicted this in 2000.

Britain’s winter ends tomorrow with further indications of a striking environmental change: snow is starting to disappear from our lives.

Sledges, snowmen, snowballs and the excitement of waking to find that the stuff has settled outside are all a rapidly diminishing part of Britain’s culture, as warmer winters – which scientists are attributing to global climate change – produce not only fewer white Christmases, but fewer white Januaries and Februaries.

He also added that “Children won’t know what snow is.”  Well they certainly do now.

But we shouldn’t be too surprised at Viner’s  prediction since it came from the same outfit that is behind the Climategate e-mail scandal which has rocked the scientific world and thrown into doubt that global warming exists or that there is a consensus on the issue.

Al Gore and his ilk have been strangely silent during this latest cold snap but you can bet we will hear from them as soon as the thermometer begins to rise.

The Heartland Institute which is based in Chicago is holding their 2nd annual International Conference on Climate Change in Times Square this week.  Attendance at this years conference was estimated to be close to 800 which is double the number that attended the inaugural event last year.

So far attendees have heard from a host of speakers that included the Czech president Vaclav Klaus who has become a celebrity with the skeptics for his strong stand against global warming and the econmic costs of enacting a global cap and trade program.

In the Economics and Politics track the discussion ranged from discussions on the economic impact of energy rationing, the political outlook for cap and trade, morality of energy rationing and the Kyoto protocols.

Myron Ebell from the Competitive Enterprise Institute told the audience that McCain’s loss in November was actually a plus for opponents of cap and trade as he has been a major proponent of the legislation and that several pro cap and trade Senators lost as well and weren’t replaced by Democrats with the same viewpoint.  One of the best talks was delivered by Roy Innis from the Congress On Racial Equality.  Innis who is suffering from Parkinson’s disease said that he hoped that President Obama was correct when he announced the reversal of Bush-era restrictions on embryonic stem cell research and that those suffering from Parkinson’s and other diseases will find relief.  He also recalled a conversation that he had with a woman in Uganda whose child was suffering from malaria who told him that she would rather see her child suffer than see the environment harmed by the increased use of DDT.  It is unfortunate that the people of Africa who are dying from the lack of DDT would believe some spurious claim that it will hurt them more than help them.

In one of the last panels of the day, Tom Tanton of the Pacific Research Institute made the case that we don’t want to follow California’s lead when it comes to environmental legislation.  Tanton estimates that efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions will cost the California economy $510 billion at a time when they can least afford it.

The conference has come under criticism by global warming proponents for the lack of scientific experts addressing the attendees,  and in that regard they are generally correct.  But then again even the most novice skeptic at the conference is still eminently more qualified than Al Gore to discuss the issue.

Global warming or climate change as it is now more commonly referred to is a hot topic among educators and nowhere was that more evident as this week’s National Middle School Association convention in Denver.

In addition to the exhibitors like the Earth Fooundation or Insect Love preaching about how to save the environment there were educational sessions directed at the educators in attendance.

One such session was titled; Climate Change: Global Connections and Sustainable Solutions.  The description of the session is as follows;

Teaching climate change has its challenges: there are numerous, sometimes conflicting findings:effects attributed to it are vast and varied. Involve your students with the issues using this standards-based, two-week, climate change unit. Exeprience hands-on lessons that demonstrate the interconnections between natural cycles and systems and human choices and actions. This interactive session provides engaging lessons about climate change perspectives, consumption choices, carbon footprint, emissions trading, and international energy policies.

Presented by Dave Wilton of Facing The Future we spent 75 minutes going through parts of the lesson plan that they want teachers to use.

Wilton had several group exercises that are built into the curriculum.  The first one he used was that he distributed several cards with words such as petroleum, automobile, power plant, coal etc…  written on them and each person with a card had to figure out how they relate to each other using a ball of yarn to tie them together.  After it was over I almost thought the partcipants were going to hold hands and sing kumbaya.

Another exercise was to form groups of seven and answer questions from the lesson about different sources of energy and the pros and cons of each and then discuss them with the entire audience.  One participant remarked that she didn’t realize that the manufacturing of solar panels resulted in a high contribution to greenhouse gases and another remarked that she teaches in an area where coal is the major employer so she couldn’t tell the children that their fathers work for the devil.

The last exercise was called Choices and Impacts.  Everyone in the audience was given a card with a dollar amount raging from $200 to $5000 and using a sheet called Global Mall Items had to purchase food, heat/fuel, transportation, home, and a luxury item.  The idea od this excercise was to show not only how difficult it would be to get by on just $200 but how hard it would be to spend $5000.  Of course the $200 group was the largest as  they were  supposed to be representative of the number of people in the world living in poverty.

What was missing from the lessons and exercises was balance. There was no mention of contrary viewpoints on global warming and sustainability of which there are plenty.  Instead the lessons rely on a left-wing view of global warming  which unfortunately the educators in the audience embrace wholeheartedly.

Funding for the curriculum comes from the Hewlett-Packard Foundation which is has taken a decidedly far left turn since the death of its founders.