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Katrina begets racial and environmental agitators.

ITEM: A January 18 article on the Black Entertainment Television website (www.bet.com) reported: "Concerned environmentalists say that unless the United States gets real about the threat of global warning, African Americans and other people of color can expect a repeat of disasters like [Hurricane] Katrina."

Some environmentalists, read the account, "say global warming impacts minorities and the disadvantaged harder than other groups." Nia Robinson, a member of the steering committee of the Environmental Justice and Climate Change Initiative (EJCC), maintained that Katrina "showed that racism is alive and well in America." CORRECTION: Equating the response to Katrina to racism has been a recurrent theme among demagogues despite the evidence to the contrary. Tedious racial firebrand Jesse Jackson, for example, maintained that the post-storm New Orleans scene "looked like Africans in the hull of a slave ship." Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean did his part to whip up a reaction: "We must come to terms with the ugly truth that skin color, age and economics played a deadly role in who survived and who did not." The radical Guardian in London gleefully charged that the storm had "laid bare the ugly truth about America's racial divide."

Such allegations have been rampant--and wrong. A study by Knight Ridder Newspapers, which got considerably less attention than the alarmist statements above, found that blacks and those with lower incomes were not, in fact, represented disproportionately among victims. An analysis of the dead by race showed: "African-Americans outnumbered whites 51 percent to 44 percent. In the area overall, African-Americans outnumber whites 61 percent to 36 percent."

Blacks made up 67.2 percent of the New Orleans population before the storm, pointed out syndicated columnist John Leo, and they "account for 50.9 percent of the city victims so far identified by race. It was New Orleans' Caucasians who died way out of proportion to their numbers--28 percent of the population, 45.6 percent of the city's known Katrina deaths by race."

In a column in the Boston Globe, Cathy Young suggested that one reason "we saw so many black survivors on the news was that most white-populated areas the hurricane hit--St. Bernard Parish near New Orleans, the cities of Biloxi and Gulfport, Mississippi--received relatively little media attention."

Perhaps the saddest part of all this is that it is deemed politically advantageous to fault an act of nature for not striking Americans according to appropriate racial distribution patterns.

Nevertheless, rebuilding policies may well react to the rants of instigators who are now alleging that a failure to rebuild black neighborhoods in the flood-prone areas is the equivalent of ethnic cleansing. "Thus," comments Cathy Young, "race-based paranoia may end up putting many black citizens of New Orleans in harm's way--literally."

Moreover, the global-warming alarmism, which is cited by Black Entertainment Television and trotted out ceaselessly by foreign nations critical of the U.S. for not ratifying the Kyoto Treaty, is also way off base. The truth is that to meet Kyoto's requirements would be to commit economic hari-kari. And to what end? If, somehow, the onerous requirements of Kyoto actually were met by all signatories, the accord would, even according to its proponents, reduce the temperature of the Earth by only seven-hundredths of a degree Celsius--in 50 years! Yet, getting to that point would require the U.S. to reduce carbon-dioxide emissions to 7 percent below the 1990 level--likely requiring a debilitating (as well as regressive) energy tax. That would be a horrendous trade-off.

Green-gilled detractors, especially those in Europe who feel self-righteous for ratifying Kyoto, are actually doing much worse than the U.S. in terms of carbon-dioxide emissions. The United States experienced "a modest decline of greenhouse emission of 0.8% between 2000 and 2002, according to data from the U.S. Department of Energy," notes the Wall Street Journal. "Overall since 1990, American greenhouse emissions are up 15.8%, but this still puts the U.S. far ahead of many of its European and Asian critics. And this despite U.S. economic growth (and increasing energy demand) that has far exceeded Europe's." Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin, for instance, has berated America's lack of a "global conscience," even as Canada's emission rates since 1990 have risen 24 percent.

It should be no surprise that total U.S. emissions have gone up; that reflects economic growth. Yet, no doubt in large part because we aren't wasting money trying to meet foolish Kyoto Protocol requirements, U.S. energy use is actually becoming quite a bit more efficient. Environmental scientist Patrick Michaels explains that what is newsworthy is how the emissions per unit of Gross Domestic Product in the U.S., "the economic bang for the energy buck," have continued to decline. "We now produce a constant dollar's worth of goods and services with only 78% of the energy we used in 1990."

Regrettably, repellent race-baiting and vaporous end-of-the-world scenarios continue to attract disproportionate attention in the mass media. Facts, though sometimes buried, are made of sterner stuff.
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Title Annotation:Correction, Please!
Author:Hoar, William P.
Publication:The New American
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Feb 20, 2006
Words:833
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