Commentary: A pretense to save the planet


“The urge to save humanity is almost always only a false face for the urge to rule it.” — H.L. Mencken

The above quote strips away the pretense of the Progressive/Democrats efforts to “save the planet” from the perils of climate change/global warming. Their agenda, well documented by statements from the leadership of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the redistribution of wealth and the elimination of free-market capitalism, to be replaced by a command economy. For those too young to understand, the old Soviet Union and present-day Cuba were and are command economies. Under the Soviet model, the government decided what would be produced and in what quantities, models, style (any style as long as it was black and plain) and price to be sold. Cuba dictates that along with what occupations are permitted and who works in them; the result of both systems are perennial shortages and a thriving black market.

The most recent example of social upheaval produced by centralized government control of everything is Venezuela, once the most prosperous nation in South America with a vibrant middle-class. Twenty years after a “Bolivarian socialist revolution” the middle-class has been destroyed, the economy wrecked, the population starving. Tens of thousands of Venezuelans cross borders every day to find food. Children are issued a chit at 4 a.m. that entitles them to a crust of bread in the afternoon. To protect their revolution the socialist leadership imported thousands of Cuban internal security police forces to monitor their own police and military and to persecute their people. Hundreds of thousands of Venezuelans have taken to the streets to protest the socialist dictatorship’s oppression, which by the way started out as advocating “democratic socialism.” The regime disarmed the populace early on and the people face heavily armed security forces with only stones. Can’t happen here? The Venezuelan people voted this regime into power under many of the same slogans we’re hearing from the American Progressive Left today. By the way, among the shortages inflicted upon the nation with the largest oil reserves in the world are a complete absence of medication in public hospitals, a requirement to import refined oil, even though they were a leading exporter and toilet paper has been scarce for several years. But I digress.

Fossil fuels are moral and we need more of them, not less. We are blessed with some of the largest oil and natural gas reserves in the world but we are being propagandized into “keeping them in the ground.” As stated in Alex Epstein’s book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, “oil is an ultra-concentrated form of energy-liquid energy- so it’s ideal for any moving vehicle. Every portable power source needs to carry its fuel with it, which means that size and weight are of paramount consideration. Oil has the ultimate strength to weight ratio. A gallon of gasoline has 31,000 calories-the amount of energy you use in fifteen days.” No alternative fuel source (except uranium) comes close to having that level of efficiency and power.

Progressive/Democrat critics will insist that fossil fuels are destroying the planet, we are facing catastrophic consequences from a warming planet and climate change and have limited time left to radically alter our use of energy to non-carbon sources, such as wind and solar. They’ve been saying this for the last 30 years or more and have been consistently wrong. They cite recent hurricanes as evidence of more severe storms, counting on the lack of historical knowledge of average Americans. The 1950’s produced record numbers of major hurricanes making landfall on the East coast and previous decades produced the most powerful and destructive hurricanes we’ve ever recorded. Dollar damage is greater now as we’ve built in extremely vulnerable areas on the coasts, areas undeveloped in decades past so the dollar losses are naturally greater.

Underlying the Progressive agenda is a disdain for ordinary people. When critics of their statist policies point out that people are also part of the environment their rejoinder is that we are not; the true believer thinks of humanity as a “cancer on the planet” that must be eliminated to recreate their version of a naturalist Garden of Eden, sans humans. They let this philosophy slip in their writings and when they think nobody is listening at their conferences.

Quoting Epstein again, he points out a “strong correlation between life-expectancy, fossil fuel use and average income. Money provides resources and time and opportunity to pursue…happiness. It’s hard to be happy when you don’t know where your next meal is coming from.”

Our neighbors south of the Grade (City of SLO) have adopted a “keep it in the ground” resolution so I must ask if this isn’t just more “virtue signaling” by the Left? Have they ordered the revocation of all business licenses for gas stations, refuse to wear clothing made from hydrocarbons or employed hydrocarbons in their manufacture or transportation? How about food? Do they decline agricultural products grown with fertilizer or being transported by diesel-powered trucks? Ninety-three percent of all U.S. transportation uses fossil fuels. Windmills use fossil fuel lubricants and both solar and wind generators incorporate materials constructed from fossil fuels.

Before you are taken in by the emotion of the moment, I suggest reading Alex Epstein’s book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels and climatologist Joe Bastardi’s recent book, “The Climate Chronicles: Inconvenient Revelations You Won’t Hear From Al Gore—And Others.” There are dozens of books refuting climate hysteria and thousands of scientists who strongly object to the misuse of their work to promote radical climate agendas. Knowledge is power; to be forewarned is to be forearmed.

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