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The Left Doesn’t Really Believe in Climate Change

shutterstock_103227926The sky is always falling. If the new ice age doesn’t do us in, the ozone hole will. The instant DDT is banned, aerosols must follow. Global warming is replaced by climate change is replaced by “global weirding.”

And what is the solution to these often-contradictory scenarios? We anachronists who retain a bias toward the hard sciences would employ very different measures to prevent a freezing ocean and a boiling one. To an engineer, soldier or plumber, this is obvious.

But how do leaders of the environmental left address these opposing doomsdays? By raising taxes, increasing government, impeding capitalism and reducing national sovereignty. Coincidentally, the same policies they would promote if their supposed environmental catastrophe was utter fiction. It is little wonder that voters are suspicious.

When natural gas production was a too-expensive alternative to oil, the environmental lobby promoted it as a surefire way to reduce carbon emissions. Close the coal- and oil-fired plants; convert cars to run on CNG. Yes, it will devastate industries, cost jobs and burn billions of dollars, but think of the children!

Since even malevolent industrialists love their kids, energy barons took the greens’ advice and found cheaper, more efficient ways to extract and transport natural gas. What a victory for the movement! But instead of celebrating, envirolobbyists rent their garments over their once-miraculous fuel. The instant green energy translated into Big Oil profits, progressives placed the CNG and fracking on their naughty list.

When carbon emissions were labeled agents of the apocalypse, engineers noted that the only atmospheric emission from nuclear plants is water vapor. If greenhouse gases were as dangerous as claimed, Gaia’s savior, at least for a time, was the humble atom.

Again the environmentalists turned on a dime, alleging that CO2 is bad, but tiny amounts of nuclear waste buried under mountain ranges was, well, icky. Sure, there are now vastly safer waste-reducing solutions, but did you hard-science-types forget the cool bumper stickers on our VW microbus? The China Syndrome won Oscars, you know.

Every time a real-world solution is provided to a promised calamity, leftist leaders move the goalposts. To be sure, many well-meaning parishioners have bought the con and piously observe the demanding rituals of earth worship. But the high priests still jet around the globe, chasing checks from energy tycoons to build monstrous mansions along doomed coastlines.

That’s because the Left doesn’t really believe in climate change. Their true religion is raising taxes, increasing government, impeding capitalism and reducing national sovereignty. Climate change is just a temporary excuse to achieve those ends.

  1. WI Con

    I’ll believe that they believe in global warming/climate change/climate disruption/climate inconvenience… when I can buy a place on the beach in the Hampton’s for $50 – I mean its basically worthless.

  2. Tuck

    “Their true religion is raising taxes, increasing government, impeding capitalism and reducing national sovereignty.”

    Which all boils down to: power.

  3. Tim Kowal

    Well formulated, except the conclusion suggests a touch of the conspiratorial with its reference to specific policies. I think instead the enviro-left is captivated by the part of the monkey brain that rages against civilization writ large.  The label “progress” is only a happy coincident when it comes to wishing for energy technologies that don’t exist. The rest of the policies that scratch their particular itch are positively revanchist — e.g., one-child policies and chasing people from their yarded homes back into 600-sq-ft. flats in crowded cities.  

    Big State-ism happens to comport with that worldview. But that, too, is just a happy accident. There’s nothing intrinsically desirable in taxes and regulations — it’s their effect in ushering in the Brave New World they have in mind.

  4. Colin B Lane

    Agree with everything you said, Jon, with the exception of one word: “temporary.” The beauty of climate change alarmism is that it provides the Left with an excuse for promoting government intrusion into and control of our lives well into the future — indeed, beyond all of our lifetimes. And, unlike so many past Leftist scares, it is essentially irrefutable since everything supports its premise (e.g., too cold — climate change; too hot — climate change; too much rain — climate change; not enough rain — climate change; etc.).

    This is no temporary excuse. They’ll milk this baby forever.

  5. Randy Weivoda

    You’re right on the money, Jon.  I have no doubt that when the day comes that solar power is advanced enough to provide plentiful, cheap electricity and turn a profit without being subsidized, the leftists will start barking about how the solar barons are blinding birds with their giant solar farms.  And there will be complaints about how those greedy solar barons want to build their farms on pristine and oh-so-fragile wilderness.

    If a family is heating their home and cooking their meals over a smoky dung-fire, that’s merely sad.  But if someone is making a profit selling a family natural gas for their furnace and stove, that’s evil.

  6. Only1Here

    Your column is absolutely right. I love your veiled reference to Al Jazeera Gore. Thanks for making me laugh while pointing out the left’s numerous irrational positions.

  7. Roberto

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    That’s because the Left doesn’t really believe in climate change. Their true religion is raising taxes, increasing government, impeding capitalism and reducing national sovereignty. Climate change is just a temporary excuse to achieve those ends.

     You’re not crazy:

    Prince Charles has called for an end to capitalism as we know it in order to save the planet from global warming.

    In a speech to business leaders in London, the Prince said that a “fundamental transformation of global capitalism” was necessary in order to halt “dangerously accelerating climate change” that would “bring us to our own destruction”.

    In a politically-charged speech at the Inclusive Capitalism conference, the Prince said: “I remember when the Iron Curtain came down there was a certain amount of shouting about the triumph of capitalism over communism. Being somewhat contrary, I didn’t think it was quite as simple as that. I felt that unless the business world considered the social, community and environmental dimensions, we might end up coming full circle.”

  8. George Savage

    Savage’s Law on energy and the enviro-left:  The political attractiveness of any source of energy is inversely proportional to its readiness for cost-effective deployment at industrial scale.

    This formulation explains why solar power in the form of photovoltaic power generators on every rooftop is a Good Thing while the practical form of solar power–your local hydro plant–is not (c.f., the water cycle).

  9. Jon Gabriel, Ed.

    George Savage: Savage’s Law on energy and the enviro-left: The political attractiveness of any source of energy is inversely proportional to its readiness for cost-effective deployment at industrial scale.

     Genius.

  10. Western Chauvinist

    You’re not crazy:

    Prince Charles has called for an end to capitalism as we know it in order to save the planet from global warming.

    In a speech to business leaders in London, the Prince said that a “fundamental transformation of global capitalism” was necessary in order to halt “dangerously accelerating climate change” that would “bring us to our own destruction”.

    In a politically-charged speech at the Inclusive Capitalism conference, the Prince said: “I remember when the Iron Curtain came down there was a certain amount of shouting about the triumph of capitalism over communism. Being somewhat contrary, I didn’t think it was quite as simple as that. I felt that unless the business world considered the social, community and environmental dimensions, we might end up coming full circle.”

    The Left never rests. “Inclusive Capitalism” conference?? Seriously? We have to combat the ever expanding lexicon of the Left, in addition to leftism itself. It’s exhausting. 

    I look forward to meeting my first “inclusive capitalist.” It’s like anticipating a root canal.

  11. Chris Campion

    True weirding is the power Friedman wields over the weak-minded at the NY Times, in order to convince them that paying him to write these things is a good idea.  Also, Tom, try losing the porn-stache, bro – that might work wonders on the Upper West Side but out here in the real world you look like you should be wearing a tracking bracelet on your ankle.  Cankle.  Skip a meal now and then, too – the world will be less weird.

    Weirding.  The Weirding Way?  What is he now, a Bene Gesserit?  Tell me about your homeworld, Friedman….er, Usul.

  12. Jon Gabriel, Ed.

    Chris Campion:

    True weirding is the power Friedman wields over the weak-minded at the NY Times, in order to convince them that paying him to write these things is a good idea.

     Friedman is such a pedestrian thinker. Never could figure out why he’s held in such esteem.

  13. Chris Campion

    What, no props for my sick Dune references?

    Disappointed.  The sleeper has not awakened.

  14. Roberto

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    Chris Campion:

    True weirding is the power Friedman wields over the weak-minded at the NY Times, in order to convince them that paying him to write these things is a good idea.

    Friedman is such a pedestrian thinker. Never could figure out why he’s held in such esteem.

    Much of his earlier work on the Middle East actually had quite a bit to recommend it. Around 2005 though when he brought out The World Is Flat was the point he really went off the rails. I imagine that Financial Times Book of the Year Award rather went to his head.

  15. Pete EE

    I hope Prince Charles never becomes king.

  16. John Hendrix

    deleted double post

  17. John Hendrix

    Excellent post, Jon.   Consider all of your arguments to have been stolen by me.

    You’re welcome.

  18. profdlp

    It’s pretty easy to be anti-capitalism when you’re a prince.  For those of us who work for a living it is a little tougher.

  19. Manny

    Jon Gabriel, Ed.:

    Chris Campion:

    True weirding is the power Friedman wields over the weak-minded at the NY Times, in order to convince them that paying him to write these things is a good idea.

    Friedman is such a pedestrian thinker. Never could figure out why he’s held in such esteem.

     My thoughts were running along the same lines.  Actually Friedman is less than a pedestrian thinker.  There’s something idiotic about him.

    Global warming to climate change to global weirding.  It smells of the new deal to the square deal to the fair deal.  It’s all trying to find the political jargon that will click with the simple minded.  Good article Mr. Gabriel.

  20. Owl of Minerva

    Friedman has a job at NYT because he repeats back to the readers what they already believe. That’s his job. I’m not even sure if he knows it.

    I’m not a conspiracy theorist with respect to climate change. My dad and I often speak about it. He’s a conservative former naval nuclear physicist and an old Texan petroleum company geophysicist. In his view, it’s impossible to think that humankind hasn’t affected the climate in some way, but climate is such a complex system that it’s hard (but not impossible) to pin down how.

    The problem with climate change activists is that they think they are acting on science when they are acting on the moral intuition that acquisition, in capitalism, is self-interested and, hence, immoral. To be moral, then, requires resistance to self-interest and acquisition; climate models are an external validation of that intuition (if the earth is in peril because of acquisition and self-interest, then I am both scientifically-minded and moral). To win an argument about climate change, simply concede the scientific point and attack the moral intuition. It’s an easy workaround the “climate denier” charge.

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