It's Time for Pure, Unfettered Capitalism to Take on Climate Change

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From The Guardian:

 

2016 was the hottest year on record, setting a new high for the third year in a row, with scientists firmly putting the blame on human activities that drive climate change.

 

The final data for 2016 was released on Wednesday by the three key agencies – the UK Met Office and Nasa and Noaa in the US – and showed 16 of the 17 hottest years on record have been this century.

 

At this point, the only argument one can make against Global Warming’s existence is that it’s actually the most successful high-level worldwide conspiracy ever conducted. I’ve seen no real evidence to support that claim, so I will not entertain it. Global Warming is real.

 

As you’ve likely heard, something like 97% of scientists agree that Global Warming is taking place and that humans have had some kind of impact on bringing it about. To what extent human beings have caused Global Warming is largely unknown, and the 97% statistic does not indicate scientists’ beliefs regarding this question in any way, shape, or form. More importantly, there is no consensus on what the overall impact of Global Warming will be or on how to stop it, not that science operates on a consensus basis anyway.

 

Democratic, Progressive, and Socialist politicians, pundits, and ideologues have a major conflict of interest when it comes to this issue, as do Conservatives, Libertarians, Capitalists, and the like. The former always vouch for increased centralized authority over the economy and means of production to accomplish their goals. They cannot be trusted to solve environmental issues as their agenda will lead them towards wanting more control and more authority over the environment regardless of the circumstances. The latter are the opposite. As free marketers are inclined to support more and more privatization of land and the means of production, less governmental control over the environment will always be something they side with. This is why people like Barack Obama, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton have zero credibility in climate-related debates. Just as an oil company wants fewer regulations, so they can maximize profits, the aforementioned politicians want more regulations, so they can maximize power and control of the economy. The same goes for Republicans who deny or dismiss Global Warming altogether, as acknowledging its existence opens up a conversation that could result in increased governmental power and control over the environment. This is antithetical to the goals of the political right, so they are just as untrustworthy as the left.

 

Before Donald Trump’s election, debate and discussion regarding Climate Change and Global Warming were being severely undermined. Those on the left in the most influential country on Earth had been in power for nearly a decade with Barack Obama occupying the throne of the presidency. They used this power to stifle dissent against their climate consensus by saying “the science is settled” (a completely ridiculous statement, as science is tasked with the responsibility of challenging all “settled” beliefs and theories in search of the most accurate truths). They also dismissed opposition, whether radical refusals to acknowledge the issue at all or alternative solutions and theories that open up the discussion as Climate Denial, as willful ignorance akin to Holocaust denial. As a result, few people are able to have a well-informed discussion on Climate related issues. The leftist appeal to authority and the public shaming of diverse ideas has stupefied the public and made them fearful of challenging the status quo in the same way the subjects of a Theocracy tremble beneath the shadow of the Church.

 

While I have my disagreements with Trump on a wide range of issues, I am overjoyed by the possibility of finally beginning the Climate Change conversation. Trump’s election has emancipated those of us who do not think global governmental takeover is the right approach when it comes to mitigating the effects of Global Warming.

 

While I’m not exactly sure how many people are interested in my opinion on how best to overcome the threat of Climate Change, I have one, and I’d like to share it with you:

 

The first step towards overcoming this challenge is acknowledging that we do not control the Earth’s climate. Our planet has rotated through eras of such great concentrations of oxygen that dragonflies had to grow to the size of seagulls to survive being poisoned by it. It has been chilled to such a degree that all the oceans were frozen over, causing our home to resemble a snowball. The Earth hasn’t even always had landabove sea level.

 

Let these facts serve as a guiding light towards the winning attitude of Climate Nihilism. We have no control over the climate, and, as former Libertarian presidential nominee Gary Johnson once said, eventually the Earth will be engulfed by the sun, and life will no longer exist. Since that’s the inevitable future, let’s focus on the present and make sure those of us who have been blessed with the incredible opportunity to be alive are allowed to do so in the happiest and most prosperous ways.

 

Those who hear this argument often retort by saying something along the lines of so you think we should allow greedy, Capitalistic fossil fuel corporations to poison the air and water for their own personal gain? Aside from the fact that there is nothing to gain from poisoning the air and water, mandating a clean environment is not the same as trying to control the climate. Pollution and Climate Change are separate issues. Carbon emissions, believed to be the greatest man-made contributor to Global Warming, are not pollution. Carbon Dioxide is an invisible, odorless gas. In high concentrations, it can increase the surrounding temperatures, but it doesn’t make air or water dirty. This is important to understand when you are being fed pro-climate-action propaganda. Proponents of climate hysteria will sneakily (or maybe ignorantly) bait-and-switch between Global Warming talk and images of polluted cities in China or waterways in India when the two are wholly unrelated. It’s like saying you shouldn’t eat trans-fat and showing you images of the Killing Fields in Cambodia.

 

Issues of pollution, such as the prevalence of plastics in our oceans, can be better controlled, and we can probably do that better and more efficiently than the government ever could. It would be a great moment in human history if many of us decided to take a little time out to remove the garbage polluting our seas, and we should be proactive and optimistic about making that happen. A nihilistic attitude towards a cleaner and more hospitable natural world is misguided. But picking up trash won’t lower the average annual temperature of the Earth.

 

The second step is taking a look at human history. Before fossil fuels were used on a mass scale, the Earth was populated by roughly a billion people. It took millions of years for us to get to that point. Fossil fuels and the accompanying industrial revolution allowed humanity to increase our size sevenfold in barely 100 years. Not only did our population experience massive gains, our quality of life did too. Poverty, hunger, and infant mortality rates have been greatly diminished, and life expectancy has improved mightily. With the amount of food, medicinal, energy, and technological production and innovation that has been achieved via fossil fuel use, it’s not hard to put the pieces together. Our lives are longer, healthier, and easier than our ancestors’ were, and an enormous chunk, if not all, of the gratitude goes to the power of life-giving coal, oil, and gas.

 

As far as the contemporary state of humanity goes, nations and regions are essentially living in different stages of anthropological history. The developed world (U.S., Europe, Japan, etc.) enjoys the highest quality of life by nearly every metric. It’s no coincidence that these were the first nations to obtain economic and personal freedom and to, as the phrase suggests, develop. The developing or third world is still working on getting established in many regards, but, mostly thanks to free trade and relatively greater economic and personal freedoms, has made major strides.

 

It is important to recognize that the first world’s standard of living being higher than that of the third world is not due to imperialism or other historic ills. We were freer to produce, purchase, and use goods, namely fossil fuels, sooner, so we were able to advance earlier. The third world is catching up, and we must cheer their use of affordable and abundant energy to better themselves, not sneer at it.

 

Something else we should ponder is the rate of childbirth in the developing world compared to the first world. There is an unbelievably clear correlation between greater poverty and higher birth rates. The nations with the highest birth rates are almost exclusively African and deeply impoverished while the nations with the lowest birth rates are the wealthiest nations in the world.

 

I am not concerned with overpopulation, and few agendas I could ever imagine are darker than eugenics or social engineering. But I am concerned with poverty and peoples’ ability to climb out of it, or their lack thereof. It is theorized that poorer populations have more children because they have an innate sense telling them that with each child, they have a better chance at having a successful one. Parents with no resources to provide do not have the means to invest heavily in one child. Instead, they play the odds, and hope that at least one of their offspring will find a way to accomplish what one might call The American Dream and carry on the family’s legacy.

 

Rich parents do have the means to invest heavily in their kids. Even if their children lack exceptional intelligence, beauty, or raw talent, parents can spend their time and money to develop their kids in every way. Having more kids means divvying up resources and harming the first and second children’s chances at success with each ensuing birth. Raising few kids is the way to go for the upper classes.

 

With increased access to fossil fuels, as well as other first world discoveries like vaccines, GMOs, pesticides, contraception, and more, families in the poorest parts of the world can improve their quality of life in the same way we have. Armed with better, faster, more efficient, and cheaper energy, the third world can join us in our place in the sun.

 

This brings us to the third and most important step: the promotion and legalization of a fair and free all-of-the-above energy policy. From coal, oil, and gas to wind, solar, and biofuel to hydroelectric and nuclear fission, we should be producing, refining, and marketing all the energy we can. The red tape and subsidies need to be sliced, and the free market must be allowed to run its course. We need to know the real costs of developing and consuming each source of power, so a laissez faire system that allows each industry to compete for customers is the right approach.

 

With more and more affordable energy, it will become easier and cheaper to develop safer and better forms of energy. As you may have figured out already, wind power doesn’t build farms, and solar power doesn’t create solar panels. Traditional fossil fuels are essential to the creation of alternative forms of energy. The same logic applies to the development of medicines, advanced transportation, infrastructure that can protect us from a potentially hostile climate, and every other unthought-of consumer good and commodity waiting to be produced.

 

In the end, if solar wins out, great. If coal makes a resurgence, that’s great too. Since we have already acknowledged that the climate is out of our hands, a race to enhanced global wealth must be our top priority and is the only long-term solution to preserving our planet and species’ existence for as long as possible. We can make the planet’s inevitable death miserable, bossy, and slow for the planet’s only metacognitive inhabitants, or we can make it fun and full of achievement for ourselves and our posterity.

 

The last step is to adjust your own behavior without the threat of violent government force. There is a great profusion of tweaks we can make to our own lives to mitigate our impact on the planet. Obviously, making sure you dispose of your trash properly and preserving and reusing resources can help a great deal. There are also less evident lifestyle changes we can make like eating less beef. Cows require more land and food relative to the amount of meat they produce when compared to pigs and chickens. If you normally eat beef four or five times per week, scaling your intake back to two or three times can signal to the farming industry that you want them to switch from cattle to poultry.

 

If you can afford it, it’s a solid idea to drive a hybrid or electric car or install solar panels on your roof. Riding a bike to work won’t hurt either.

 

Lastly, I think the young adults of today have a tremendous responsibility. We must raise future generations in a way that prepares them for a changing world. Making sure they understand that the economy is rapidly evolving is vital. They cannot grow up thinking that they can be whatever they want to be when they grow up and live on easy street as our generation was often told.

 

We don’t determine what environment we are born into or how it will change.. We just determine what we can do with the one we have.

 

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Comments

Autumn Cote Added Jul 14, 2017 - 6:58am
Please note, the second best way to draw more attention to your work is to comment on the work of others. I know this to be true because if you do, I'll do everything in my power to draw more attention to your articles.
 
PS - There is a lot I can do and would like to do on your behalf.
Jeff Jackson Added Jul 17, 2017 - 7:49am
You covered a lot of ground here Glenn. I think that at least several people would disagree with you that there is nothing to gain by poisoning the air and water, at least from the perspective of a corporation that is doing the polluting. To clean up water used or to filter smoke generated by production is expensive, so I am not clear on how there is nothing to gain; there certainly is something to gain if you can dump smoke into the air or chemicals in waste water into the rivers without going through the expense of cleaning dangerous compounds from them.
Certainly, mankind in general loses a lot from pollution, but in terms of individual gain by polluters who do not have to go to the expense of cleaning up what they dump into the air and water, they save money and keep more of the money they generate. In terms of responsibility, I think it is reasonable to hold those who create pollution accountable for the cleanup of the pollution they generate. Perhaps I missed the point, but industries in China are especially lax in taking measures to keep the air and water clean, and China's population is beginning to suffer what we call "industrial diseases" generated by chemicals in the air and water. Contrary to what some might think, I care about our environment, because I live in it like everyone else. Perhaps you could add some detail to your position on this. I do not think that young adults have any more responsibility than the rest of us.
Glenn Verasco Added Jul 17, 2017 - 8:00am
Jeff, the "personal gain" comment was not the central point of that paragraph. The point is to make a distinction between mandating a clean environment (which is reasonable) and attempting to control the climate (which is not).
 
I explicitly pointed out that this should not be diverted into a China or India pollution argument in the second half of the paragraph. These are separate issues.
Dino Manalis Added Jul 17, 2017 - 9:02am
We should research and develop and improve all energy sources, including cleaner fossil fuels and renewables, while developing countries should also do what they can to protect the environment as well.  Diversifying our energy portfolio is smart business, not only to protect the environment, but also to save/create jobs and keep energy costs down.  Economic and environmental policy ought to work together, not conflict each other.
Nicholas Schroeder Added Jul 17, 2017 - 9:23am
Anything about temperatures from NASA/NOAA cannot be trusted. Data has been "adjusted" beyond recognition.
 
Over 3,100!! (up 1,300 since 6/9) views on my WriterBeat papers which were also sent to the ME departments of several prestigious universities (As a BSME & PE felt some affinity.) and a long list of pro/con CAGW personalities and organizations.
 
NOBODY has responded explaining why my methods, calculations and conclusions in these papers are incorrect. BTW that is called SCIENCE!!
 
SOMEBODY needs to step up and 'splain my errors 'cause if I'm correct (Q=UAdT runs the atmospheric heat engine) that's a BIGLY problem for RGHE.
 
Step right up! Bring science.
 
http://writerbeat.com/articles/14306-Greenhouse---We-don-t-need-no-stinkin-greenhouse-Warning-science-ahead-
 
http://writerbeat.com/articles/15582-To-be-33C-or-not-to-be-33C
 
http://writerbeat.com/articles/16255-Atmospheric-Layers-and-Thermodynamic-Ping-Pong
 
Ari Silverstein Added Jul 17, 2017 - 2:23pm
“In the end, if solar wins out, great. If coal makes a resurgence, that’s great too.”
 
I’m not sure what you mean by “wins out” but coal emits CO2 and solar doesn’t.  So in the end, we (excluding those that produce coal for a living) should all want solar to win out.  Let me put it to you this, assume batteries are perfected and solar panels can be developed that produce the same amount of energy as solar panels of today while occupying the space of a pin head, we might be able to have a subsidy free solar industry.  However, because solar currently has insurmountable problems there is no comparison, hence the need for heavy subsidies and mandates. 
Mike Haluska Added Jul 17, 2017 - 3:29pm
Glenn -
Your article is entirely based on some weird "guilt" and has absolutely no basis in science.
Glenn Verasco Added Jul 17, 2017 - 6:18pm
Ari, if "batteries are perfected and solar panels can be developed that produce the same amount of energy as solar panels of today while occupying the space of a pin head," that would be solar winning out. But if the technology is unable to improve, and solar cannot pay for itself, fossil fuels are better options, and should be allowed to "win out."
Glenn Verasco Added Jul 17, 2017 - 6:19pm
Mike, if you're feeling guilty, you probably understood some of my points. Glad my article had such an impact you.
Thomas Napers Added Jul 18, 2017 - 4:05am
“With more and more affordable energy, it will become easier and cheaper to develop safer and better forms of energy.”
 
I don’t understand that logic.  If we agree that solar is one of the better forms of energy, but natural gas and oil are the most affordable types of energy, why will solar be developed?  It seems to me the main reason solar hasn’t been adopted is for that very reason.  It makes no sense to develop solar seeing it’s so expensive to produce the same amount of energy as what we could easily extract in the form of natural gas and oil.   
Glenn Verasco Added Jul 18, 2017 - 4:18am
Thomas, we might still use the same resources, but we'll be able to improve the ways we utilize them. Even considering the subsidies and regulations that favor solar and wind, none of it would be possible without fossil fuels. There aren't wind-powered trucks shipping enormous windmill blades to construction sites. And silicon isn't harvested or refined with solar power. Fossil fuels are used throughout thee processes.
 
Natural gas is also a relatively new phenomenon, in terms of its wide spread use anyway. Hydraulic fracturing is safer and cheaper than coal mining, so this is a modern day example of energy abundance leading to better, cheaper, and more abundant energy. Regulations played a role, but fracking is what really killed the coal industry.
Thomas Napers Added Jul 18, 2017 - 6:24am
You’re preaching to the choir if you’re now making the argument that “green” energy doesn’t make economic sense. However, the reason I commented to you was because I thought you were making the argument it does or is likely to.  As Ari pointed out, there may be a time where things like solar make economic sense but there are technological challenges that make me highly skeptical.  Not sure what any of this discussion has to do with unfettered capitalism or climate change.   
Nicholas Schroeder Added Jul 18, 2017 - 9:40am
"...pure, unfettered, capitalism..." won't waste money solving problems that don't exist.
 
Just a few more views to 3,200 and still zero science based rebuttals.
 
Glenn Verasco Added Jul 18, 2017 - 9:52am
Thomas, my point is that wealth creation via "unfettered Capitalism" is the best way to improve energy production and delivery (and quality of life in general). I think economically sound, "green" alternative forms of energy will arise in time, and that the quicker we grow, the quicker those forms of energy will be discovered and delivered.
 
I'm not promoting any particular form of energy. I'll buy whichever one works best and is most affordable.
 
I think we're on the same page here.
Mike Haluska Added Jul 18, 2017 - 11:32am
Glenn - it's not me who is acting out on their phony guilt and need to feel "morally superior" to the rest of us.