Is there a better way to talk about climate change?

IMAG0260I recently was lamenting how our discussions of climate have gotten lost in the spin cycle.

In addition to that piece at First Things, I also reviewed a very good on-point book by Dr. Mike Hulme in The New Atlantis several years back.  (Unfortunately, Hulme’s wisdom is needed now more than ever.)

Finally, for those of you who have dug this far, here’s some exclusive content addressing the temptation for well meaning people to push the envelope.

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One response to “Is there a better way to talk about climate change?

  1. Am I wrong to see the climate change alarmism as a stalking horse for continuing the old (1970s) Amory Lovins “sustainable energy” campaign against fossil fuels? Before there was either global cooling or warming, it was vital to eliminate fossil fuels because they were not “sustainable”. When global cooling was vogue, we had to eliminate fossil fuels because the cooling was caused by particulates (e.g. soot) from burning fossil fuels. Now with global warming / climate change, we must eliminate fossil fuels because of the CO2 interactions with other greenhouse effects that will cause catastrophic global warming. Note that it is not acceptable to use nuclear power to eliminate CO2 emissions because it is not “sustainable”. No matter what the problem is the solution always seems to be diffuse solar and wind power generation. These have their place — but 1) they cannot be feasibly deployed fast enough to have a significant impact on carbon emissions unless we plan to freeze the developing world in poverty [e.g., China has deployed more new coal generating capacity in the last year than we have solar or wind capacity in the last 10 years]; 2) solar and wind are much more expensive than natural gas and coal, especially taking into account the backup generating capacity / energy storage that must be deployed to stabilize the grid against the intermittent generation of solar and wind; 3) higher energy costs fall disproportionately upon the poor in both direct utility costs and increases in manufacturing costs that both reduce employment (as manufacturers relocate) and increased prices. [See the German experience with “sustainable” energy where they have achieved over 50% increases in utility rates, industrial relocations, and increases in CO2 emissions.] The global initiatives to cap CO2 emissions are almost certainly doomed as an extreme example of the “tragedy of the commons.” Nevertheless,the climate alarmists will hear of nothing else — not because there are no other ways to reduce global warming — but because the priority is “sustainable” energy and climate change is just a means to that end. As the German environmental minister said, “It doesn’t matter whether there really is warming, our policy of going to sustainable energy is still correct.” As Michael Crichton said years ago, environmentalism / climate alarmism is how the rich oppress the poor.

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