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Chill Out Over Global Warming

The Hill, the newspaper that covers Congress, says this year, there will be a major policy battle over “climate change.” Why?

We already waste billions on pointless gestures that make people think we’re addressing global warming, but the earth doesn’t notice or care.

What exactly is “global warming” anyway? That’s really four questions:

1. Is the globe warming? Probably. Global temperatures have risen. Climate changes. Always has. Always will.

2. Is the warming caused by man? Maybe. There’s decent evidence that at least some of it is.

3. But is global warming a crisis? Far from it. It’s possible that it will become a crisis. Some computer models suggest big problems, but the models aren’t very accurate. Some turned out to be utterly wrong. Clueless scaremongers like Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Cal., seize on weather disasters to blame man’s carbon output. After Oklahoma’s tragic tornadoes last year, Boxer stood on the floor of the Senate and shrieked, “Carbon could cost us the planet!” But there were actually fewer tornadoes last summer.

4. If the globe is warming, can America do anything about it? No. What we do now is pointless. I feel righteous riding my bike to work. That’s just shallow. Even if all Americans replaced cars with bicycles, switched to fluorescent light bulbs, got solar water heaters, etc., it would have no discernible effect on the climate. China builds a new coal-fueled power plant almost every week; each one obliterates any carbon reduction from all our windmills and solar panels.

Weirdly, the only thing that’s reduced America’s carbon output has been our increased use of natural gas (it releases less greenhouse gas than oil and coal). But many environmentalists fight the fracking that produces it.

Someday, we’ll probably invent technology that could reduce man’s greenhouse gas creation, but we’re nowhere close to it now. Rather than punish poor people with higher taxes on carbon and award ludicrous subsidies to Al Gore’s “green” investments, we should wait for the science to advance.

If serious warming happens, we can adjust, as we’ve adjusted to big changes throughout history. It will be easier to adjust if America is not broke after wasting our resources on trendy gimmicks like windmills.

Environmental activists say that if we don’t love their regulations, we “don’t care about the earth.” Bunk. We can love nature and still hate the tyranny of bureaucrats’ rules.

We do need some rules. It’s good that government built sewage treatment plants. Today, the rivers around Manhattan are so clean that I swim in them. It’s good that we forced industry to stop polluting the air. Scrubbers in smokestacks and catalytic converters on cars made our lives better. The air gets cleaner every time someone replaces an old car with a new one.

But those were measures against real pollution — soot, particulates, sulfur, etc. What global warming hysterics want to fight is merely carbon dioxide. That’s what plants breathe. CO2 may prove to be a problem, but we don’t know that now.

The world has real problems, though: malaria, malnutrition, desperate poverty. Our own country, while relatively rich, is deep in debt. Obsessing about greenhouse gases makes it harder to address these more serious problems.

Environmentalists assume that as people get richer and use more energy, they pollute more. The opposite is true. As nations industrialize, they pay more attention to pollution. Around the world, it’s the most prosperous nations that now have the cleanest air and water.

Industrialization allows people to use fewer resources. Instead of burning trees for power, we make electricity from natural gas. We figure out how to get more food from smaller pieces of land. And one day we’ll probably even invent energy sources more efficient than oil and gas. We’ll use them because they’re cost-effective, not because government forces us to.

So let’s chill out about global warming. We don’t need more micromanagement from government. We need less.

Then free people — and rapidly increasing prosperity — will create a better world.

  • mkkevitt

    We can ‘chill out’ about the alleged problems of climate change & global warming. But gvt. is determined to pass & enforce ever more legislation (I didn’t say laws) to effect indefinite increases of its power over all human activity, because they just want the power, to rule. Climate change & global warming is just a smoke screen they’ll use to cover their mere desire for power to rule. They’ll use that smoke screen whether we ‘chill out’ or not. Mike Kevitt

  • J.W. Jackson

    Sounds like John has been talking to Alex. Keep up the good work, guys.

  • AT

    Tell you what Congress… Get the economy back on track, deal with the monstrosity that is Obamacare, make sure Iran doesn’t get nukes, and stop taxing me so much – and THEN maybe I’ll find the time to give a crap about global whatever.

    I will also settle for blindly repealing 3 items from the US Code, and 15 from the CFR. Daily. (Weekends and holidays included.) Agree to that, and I’ll start putting my cans and bottles in a different bin. (That’ll stop our impending doom, right?)

  • John Gallien

    If climate change were real, the environmentalists would be screaming for nuclear power which has a near zero carbon footprint (only the mining of uranium and the transportation of it, both much less intensive than coal, would be the main cause of any CO2). But, of course, they are against anything that would mass produce power, and if solar and windmills ever made the grade and could produce a significant amount of energy, they would turn against them also (and there is plenty to object to with either of these). Environmentalism is an ideology, not a science – it is anti-human at its core. Everything in the environment is sacred except human activity. When they realized they were losing the battle against pollution as that could be cleaned up by technology, they had to invent something else – and global warming became their cause.

  • SteveMGD

    ‘Someday, we’ll probably invent technology that could reduce man’s greenhouse gas creation, but we’re nowhere close to it now.’

    It was invented over 65 years ago and people don’t like it. If we invented something else, they probably wouldn’t like that either.

    ‘only the mining of uranium and the transportation of it, both much less intensive than coal, would be the main cause of any CO2′
    But not for long if we were serious – already people are developing small engines powered by thorium for vehicles which could be used to mine uranium. 4th generation reactors which produce no radioactive waste are about 15-20 years from economic viability.
    Eventually we will be a nuclear civilization (or not a civilization at all). We will either switch now when it is relatively easy, or later kicking and screaming. But switch we will.

  • SteveMGD

    The environmentalists targeted the nuclear energy industry first in this country because it was the cheapest, safest and most efficient way to power our civilization. Fossil fuels (second best) came next. Anyone want to take bets on what they’ll go after once they’ve destroyed coal?

  • writeby

    “Environmentalism is … anti-human … ”

    Hammer. Nail. Head

    “Deep Ecology is the radical idea that all life has the right to exist, that no one species is more important than another (Church of Deep Ecology: http://www.churchofdeepecology.org/).” –”The Killer Bug in the Space Shuttle” (2005.10.21) http://capitalismmagazine.com/2005/10/the-killer-bug-in-the-space-shuttle/

    See also: “Environmentalist Mythology, Part 1: Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring–Killing Us Softly” (2002.08.11) http://capitalismmagazine.com/2002/08/rachel-carsons-silent-spring-killing-us-softly/

  • Paul Behrens

    The real battle in America today is between the Rationals and the Emotionals : The former is only interested in ideas that have a proven record of success and always insists upon positive beneficial results before declaring any program worthwhile….the latter on the other hand doesn’t care about truth, results or any thing really except that whatever it is it just feels good to be for it ….A perfect example would be the Head Start program which government studies have proven makes no difference in the long run….it was given greater funding in the most recent budget agreement….Why?…..because it feels good…….Now…I understand that feelings are fun….But without our rational minds we are just very untalented animals.

  • Paul Behrens

    The real battle in America today is between what I call the Rationals and the Emotionals…The Rationals insist upon truth,facts and for every idea or program measurable,positive results. The Emotionals on the other hand do not care about truth or facts or anything really except that whatever it is it makes them feel good about themselves to be for it…A perfect example of this is the Head Start Program which government studies have proven produces zero results in the long run and yet in the most recent federal budget the funding for Head Start was increased!!Why?Because it feels good to be for it….Now I understand that feelings can be fun and wonderful but the simple truth for human beings is that without our rational minds we are no more than very untalented animals.

  • mkkevitt

    Are there any examples of Rationals’ pgms. or ideas with truth, facts and measurable, positive results? Why would such a pgm. or idea succeed? Mike Kevitt

  • James

    “Is the warming caused by man? Maybe.” Wow even John Stossel is coming around… nice to see that the work of scientists can be eventually be grasped even by media pundits.

    There ought to be a healthy debate about what to do or not do about anthropogenic global warming, but it’s nice to see the false debate over whether or not it’s happening is coming to a close.

  • DRT

    You do know what the word “maybe” means, right?

  • James

    Means he’s hedging denialist backlash against the increasingly high probability of being on the wrong side of history.