'Climate change is a fact," President Obama announced in his State of the Union address. Actually, it's been a fact since Earth was formed.
So are the changing solar energy outputs that cause global warm and cold periods, glacial epochs and little ice ages — and the periodically shifting ocean currents, jet streams, polar vortexes, El Ninos and La Ninas that drive many weather patterns, storms and droughts.
However, just about anything else the president, Environmental Protection Agency and other government agencies say about climate change should be taken with a health care, Benghazi, IRS and NSA grain of salt.
When they claim "97% of scientists say the planet is warming and human activity is contributing to it," remember: This is based on 75 of 77 "climate scientists" who were selected from a 2010 survey that went to 10,257 scientists.
In contrast, a U.S. Senate report listed 1,000 international climate scientists who dissent from "man-made climate catastrophe" claims. More than 31,000 American scientists signed a statement saying they disagree with alarmist predictions. And a 2013 survey found 48% of American meteorologists do not believe humans are causing dangerous climate change.
Moreover, "contributing to" is meaningless. Is it a 1%, 5%, 20% or 90% contribution? Scientists still cannot separate human factors from the numerous powerful, interrelated solar, cosmic, oceanic, terrestrial and other forces that cause climate change and weather events.
When the president says "carbon pollution in our atmosphere has increased dramatically," remember: It's not "carbon" (soot); it's carbon dioxide, and CO2 is not pollution. It's the plant-fertilizing gas that makes life on Earth possible.
Furthermore, increased "dramatically" means rising from 325 parts per million (0.025% of the atmosphere) in 1975, when scientists were worried about global cooling, to about 400 ppm (0.040%) today.
Oxygen is 21% of atmospheric gases (210,000 ppm). Argon is 0.93% (9,300 ppm). About 90% of the "greenhouse effect" is from water vapor. And most of the annual addition to atmospheric carbon dioxide is from volcanoes, subsea vents and other natural sources.
Over the past 16 years, while CO2 levels continued to climb, average planetary temperatures did not budge. The eight years since a Category 3 hurricane made landfall in the United States is the longest such period in over a century. U.S. tornado frequency remains close to a record low. Sea levels are rising at just 7 inches per century.
If alarmists blame disasters on carbon dioxide, shouldn't they also credit the "gas of life" for these realities?
What should concern us is not climate change — unless a continued solar quiescence ushers in another prolonged cold era. The real danger is the ways EPA is acting in the name of preventing climate change: regulating "greenhouse gases" from power plants and other sources, via executive fiat backed up by fraudulent science, without regard for our laws and Constitution, and with no apparent concern for the harmful consequences of its actions.
"Dangerous man-made climate change" is being used to excuse spending some $22 billion per year on biased climate change studies, massive solar projects across desert habitats, wind turbines that slaughter millions of birds and bats annually and ethanol programs that require millions of acres of land and vast quantities of water, fertilizer, pesticides and fossil fuels to produce a gasoline additive that reduces mileage, harms engines, drives up food prices and increases CO2 emissions.
Climate change is being used to justify EPA's war on coal, interminable delays in approving the Keystone pipeline and opposition to oil and gas leasing, drilling and fracking.
These policies allow government agencies to regulate virtually everything we make, grow, ship, eat, drive and do. They put legislators, bureaucrats, activists and courts in ever-increasing control over our lives, livelihoods, liberties, living standards and life spans.
They impair the health and welfare of millions. Being unemployed — or holding multiple lower-paying part-time jobs — means greater stress, reduced nutrition, sleep deprivation, higher incidences of depression, greater alcohol, drug, spousal and child abuse, higher suicide rates and lower life expectancies.
Even worse, it's all for nothing — even if carbon dioxide does "contribute to" climate change.
Germany, China and India are building new coal-fueled power plants every week. Under agreements signed at the recent U.N. climate conference in Poland, developing nations must merely make "contributions" toward lower emissions when they are "ready to do so." That means atmospheric CO2 concentrations will continue to climb.
When the scheme finally implodes, government overseers will likely repeat Hillary Clinton's infamous denial of responsibility: "What difference at this point does it make?" We are caught in a climate trap that our bureaucrats and politicians have set for us. How will we get out?
• Driessen is senior policy adviser for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow and author of "Eco-Imperialism: Green Power, Black Death."