12.4.2019

Saving the Planet by Killing It

BUT EVEN IF ALARMISTS were right about anthropogenic warming, their policy prescriptions are economically and practically insane. Nor do they believe their own hysteria. Former president Obama is famously pronounced his 2008 nomination “the moment the oceans began to slow their rise and the earth began to heal.” Yet he recently put down $15 million on a mansion on Martha’s Vineyard, a coastal island that would be a prime candidate for submersion by rising sea levels. If the alarmists believed their own 12 years to doomsday scenarios, they’d be pushing the rapid expansion of nuclear energy — the only non-carbon producing form of energy. Yet almost all reflexively oppose any reliance on nuclear energy, despite dramatic recent advances in developing cheaper, smaller, and safer nuclear plants. Not one Democratic presidential candidate openly repudiated Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s proposed Green New Deal, and several have endorsed it, even though it would bankrupt the United States and end all industrial development, without making a dent in overall carbon emissions. By far the largest polluters — China, India, and Brazil — would still do little to reduce their emissions. A brilliant strategy if we all want to end up in Chinese re-education camps. Indeed, American capitalism has proven the best engine of carbon emission reduction. The fracking revolution has simultaneously enabled America to reduce carbon emissions more than any other country, by switching to natural gas from coal and petroleum, and to achieve the once-deemed-impossible goal of energy independence. Diogenes had a better chance of finding an “honest man” than one would have of finding a Democratic supporter of fracking. Unrealistic “green” mandates drive energy prices through the roof. In 1992, Germany committed to reducing carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2020. It will not come close. But electricity rates in Germany, as a result of its Energiwend (energy transition) commitment to wind and solar power, has reached nearly three times the US average. The Minnesota-based Center for the America Experiment did an economic study of the cost of a proposal to use 50 percent renewable energy sources by 2030. It found that doing so would cost the state $80 billion on infrastructure by 2050, increase the average family’s electric bill by $1,200 annually, and reduce the state’s “GNP” (gross national product) by $3 billion per annum, while costing 21,000 jobs. Too frequently, the obsession with renewables only results in higher carbon emissions. Federally mandated ethanol requirements for gasoline proved a boon for corn farmers and led to skyrocketing world food prices. But the process of producing ethanol, it turns out, releases more CO2 than it saves. Sir John Beddington, former chief science advisor to the British government, notes that to meet European Union renewable directives, countries increasingly have to burn wood, which releases four times as much carbon dioxide as electricity or natural gas per megawatt-hour and 50 percent more than coal. And in cutting down vast numbers of trees, the world is deprived of forests that serve as vast carbon sinks. DR. CURRY EXPLAINS the elites’ devotion to climate change alarmism. It serves their opposition to capitalism and industrial development, and their preference for world government, run by experts, over democratic nation states. That strikes me as right. To that indictment, I would add one other charge: hatred of human beings. Population control frequently ranks at the top of the climate alarmists’ agenda. Danish statistician Bjorn Lomborg long ago argued in The Skeptical Environmentalist that with the $150 billion dollars that enforcement of the Kyoto Treaty (predecessor to the Paris Accords) would have cost annually, and which would have resulted in, at most, a .2 degree reduction in world temperature by 2100, we could purify all the water in the world and save tens of thousands of lives annually. I wonder if the virtuous Harvard-Yale demonstrators thought of that? This article appeared on the Mishpacha website at https://mishpacha.com/saving-the-planet-by-killing-it/]]>

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