Posted by Jeff Condon on March 26, 2012
I’ve had quite a bit of time to consider what I call rational environmentalism. There is a lifestyle that we live that I don’t believe we need to give back even one bit of comfort on. For instance, not showering when you want in order to save energy, cannot save enough energy to be worthwhile unless you are personally flat broke. Today in America, we have crossed that threshold of reasonable environmentalism into the realm of self-inflicted industrial harm, an area which the politicians of climate science are miserably bad at quantifying. Gas prices are a perfect example. With hundreds of different mixtures, all producing the same CO2 and similar emissions, certain blends have reached shortfall. Prices are therefore skyrocketing, as intended by the president along with supportive members of congress, and the result is a repression of personal lifestyles – for the low income earners. It also results in less jobs for the middle and high income earners but of course they go second.
Most of these effects are unnoticed by the public, as the circular fingerpointing can go on forever. The point should be to get back to what worked but that is not the subject of this post. I do believe in AGW although I’m unconvinced it is dangerous. At this point, I believe warming has been greatly beneficial – not just a little. Still, new energy sources will be found, new high-efficiency devices will be created, new paradigms of better living will occur. Notice I wrote will, rather than must. Even over-controlling government cannot stop it.
These sources will happen out of the general drive for people to make money and better lives for their families, whether we governmentally encourage them or not. This is one more aspect of the IPCC which is completely missing from the discussion. Do nothing IPCC scenarios don’t properly recognize the incentive that drives new energy exists without government. Sure, biofuel might not win, nor would solar implementation, but development and study is more than healthy. The failure of the self-appointed elite to notice the intellect of the masses has gone on since the beginning of human culture. Certainly, there is a lot of dumb in the world. Many people you meet can’t even grasp the simple concepts of a post like this yet there are enough in the world, degreed or not, who are not part of the elite, yet have the wherewithal, and more importantly, the intent to change the world.
This mass of self-improving public intellect set free to improve themselves, is what set America apart in the past. The result was NOT bad for the environment, although SWAG and others would beg to differ. Cleaner power, friendlier farming, better air, have all resulted from the excess profits of capitalistic society, yet we Americans live in an all encompassing media-sponsored message of guilt. Guilted to turn over rights, such that the completely fabricated possibility of global warming doom, doesn’t happen.
The worst part about extremist AGW, is that there is no solution to the problem. Infinite money can be spent, and we still cannot stop the emissions. If everyone on earth were made an instant millionaire for conserving their usage, none of our millions would be worth a sandwich because the economic flow would stop. Redistribution, does NOT work to create wealth.
The goal for the Super Warming Advocates Guild, in my opinion, should be much different than it is. Instead of trying to repress the lifestyles of those who they openly consider ‘overconsuming’, they should be focused on solutions with emphasis on minimal impact to the economy, and general funding of research into new energy. Research for energy, is entirely different than implementation of new energy, and is FAR different from blatantly false “all of the above” rhetoric. Implementation of fake solutions in the form of all of the above, is simply a swag at the true goal of repression of lifestyles. Either a solution works, or it doesn’t, there is not much middle ground.
Despite what the AGW alarmists sell, we can change energy production, without giving anything up. Not one penny. In fact, I fully believe the change will happen, with or without our intent.
Economically, nothing could be more important than providing endless cheap energy to society. The ability to ship, travel, heat and cool are paramount in the improved living standards of humanity. Any brief review of the history of energy reveals this.
The inventions of smelting, steam engines, liquid fuel IC engines, turbines, home electricity, pumped water, centrally retailed goods, all have worked to achieve a better lifestyle for the globe. Free to pursue new interests aside from feeding themselves, scientists study climate, medicine, physics, math, philosopy, etc. at their leisure. This was not possible at our present scale even 100 years ago. A true sign of the excesses of productivity.
From all of this, I truly believe a philosophy of limitation of energy, from any source, is very much counterproductive for the environment, for long-term limitation of CO2 emission, and for the quality of life of our children. I have seen no evidence which contradicts this thought process, and more telling, no evidence which makes a real attempt at it. The IPCC takes a very generalized swing though.
So what is rational environmentalism? It is the minimization of damage to our surroundings while prioritizing the collective health of our economic productivity. Maximizing our economy, naturally leads to maximization of technological growth.
Do you avoid eating meat? – Oh hell no. That’s crazy. Eat what you like and live your life. Cow farts do nothing ‘damaging’ to the environment and the very concept is ludicrous to the point of stupidity.
Do you avoid using paper? – No way! It is a farming industry like corn.
Do you build a solar powered home? No again. The cells take a lot of energy to make and are often dirty. They also cost more than the energy they make. Why? Well if you want to do it, sure, but there is little reason. Wait 20 years and we will all change our minds.
Do you build a more efficient home? Sure, if you have the option, this is cheap and saves cash. Insulation, smart design, can all lead to improved lifestyle and save money. Smart stuff.
Do you buy energy efficient lighting? Sometimes it makes sense, others, it does not. If you heat your house around the clock, the old light emitting incandescent heatball, is hard to beat for efficiency.
What about a green clothes dryer? No way. Water requires a certain amount of energy to evaporate. Use the power.
The whole environmentally friendly decision process I personally recommend boils down to whether you can maintain, or improve your lifestyle, while changing how you live. Our company sells energy efficient products. We sell them on longevity and quality, the efficiency is just another bonus. We are all amused that our company has saved more CO2 than Michael Mann or Jim Hansen ever will. Sure they may have influenced the public, but we have designed, produced, sold and distributed actual product in large quantity. Our customers usually don’t even think about the CO2 they are saving, but they are happy about the secondary savings from lower energy usage.
When you are choosing to conserve, I hope you consider that the saving of CO2 emissions may have NO positive impact on the environment. Despite the known warming signal, the percentage of natural vs CO2 warming is unknown, and not one single instance of environmental damage has ever been directly attributed to the fraction of a degree C we have experienced.
Also, when you choose to recycle, consider that Waste Management makes billions sorting garbage for the good stuff already. When you choose to buy recycled paper, you are driving down the cost of pulp from fresh trees, sustainably farmed everyday, by capitalist necessity, across the world. Sure a few areas are treating their forests poorly, but when they lose their production, the process stops and the trees grow back.
Conservation is a complicated sport which most people get wrong in my opinion. Instead of conserving usage, we should be focused on conserving low cost production and directing some of that profit toward more efficient technologies, expansion of a better way of life across the globe, while insuring that obvious damage to the environment is minimized. By obvious, I mean things like chemical spills, river pollution, particulate emission, etc. If you are a believer in destructive warming, you and I have a big difference of opinion and one of us is wrong, but my point is that by stopping limitation policy and allowing the global economy to continue, technology will develop far faster and we all will realize a new paradigm in energy production far more rapidly than if we pursue the government forced policies of limitation. Less NET CO2 will be emitted and we can all go back to fighting about the important stuff like whether we evolved from monkeys or whether we should be able to defend ourselves in our homes.