..facts (climate change) vs. values judgments (good to stop the climate
change) vs. politics (who pays the bill for stopping the climate
I’d like to suggest a thought experiment here, to show just how the
costs and benefits offered by the climate change movement stacked up.
Let’s imagine, for a moment, that there’s an industry in today’s
industrial nations that churns out colossal amounts of greenhouse gases
every single day. It doesn’t produce anything necessary for human life
or well-being; it’s simply a convenience, and one that, not that many
decades ago, most people in the industrial world did without and never
thought they’d need. If it were to be shut down, sure, a certain number
of people would lose their jobs, but most of the steps that have been
urged by climate change activists would have that effect; other than
that, and a certain amount of inconvenience for its current users, the
only result would be a sharp decrease in the amount of carbon dioxide
and certain other greenhouse gases being dumped into the atmosphere.
That being the case, shouldn’t climate change activists get to work
right now to shut down that industry, and shouldn’t they start off by
boycotting it themselves?
The industry in question actually exists. It’s the commercial air travel industry.
You may have noticed, dear reader, that nobody in the climate change
movement has been out there protesting commercial air travel, and
precious few of them are even willing to cut back on their flying time,
even though commercial air travel a massive contributor to the problems
the movement claims to be fighting. I know of two scientists researching
climate change who have pointed out that there’s something just a
little bit hypocritical about flying all over the world on jetliners to
attend conferences discussing how we all have to decrease our carbon
footprint! Their colleagues, needless to say, haven’t listened. Neither
has the rest of the climate change movement; like Al Gore, who might as
well be their poster child, they keep on racking up their frequent flyer
On the other hand, climate change activists are eager to shut down coal
mining. What’s the most significant difference between coal mining and
commercial air travel? Coal mining provides wages for the working poor;
commercial air travel provides amenities for the affluent.