This book was written by Christopher C. Horner, a Senior Fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a “think tank” created by Libertarians for the sole purpose of countering the movement to stop global climate change. The author is paid to be biased, not to discover the truth.
This comes through loud and clear in the first few pages of the book where I encounter hyperbole and distortion: “hysterical panic over a globally-averaged temperature increase of a few tenths of a degree,” “gross exaggerations of highly uncertain computer projections combined into implausible chains of inference,” and “a roll-back of the industrial age.”
I had just watched a National Geographic Channel airing of a NOVA series on global warming which said none of these things although it did cite discoveries in a number of diverse areas — including the die-off of half the world’s coral and efforts to revitalize reefs with heat-resistant (and possibly cyanide-resistant) strains of coral. Nowhere was there even mention of rolling back the industrial age. To the contrary, they were suggesting rolling forward the industrial age with non-polluting wind and solar power and more efficiency.
Several years ago, I replaced all the light bulbs in my home with LED replacement bulbs which create the same amount of light that a 75 watt incandescent bulb does while using 13 watts of power. On the surface, this seems a savings of 62 watts, but it isn’t. Because the A/C is not efficient and because all this excess energy must be removed from the home’s interior, we’re talking about saving something like 150 watts per bulb on hot days and nights. I consider this a win-win. I also put solar panels on my roof; another win-win. And I’m using solar energy to heat my swimming pool.
There is considerable data suggesting that mankind is interfering with the balance of nature. For one thing, we’re cutting down a lot of trees and rain forests and replacing them with stuff like blacktop and bare soil. This means that not only are we throwing CO2 and heat into the atmosphere at an alarming rate, we’re removing mitigating factors.
I’ve listened to a number of speeches by Al Gore, the son of a tobacco farmer, who is NOT an agent of industrial America, as is Dr. Horner. While he may be using some hyperbole himself, he hasn’t said one thing I consider a lie and, Dr. Horner has lied several times on the first pages of his book!
I’ve seen before and after pictures of Glacier Bay and Greenland’s massive ice shelf, two of Earth’s shrinking ice boxes. And I’ve personally experienced the benefits of the Environmental Protection Agency’s effect on air quality. I remember the “good old days” in Los Angeles when my eyes would burn with the sulfer just about every time I went into the city.
And, on the other side, every winter of my youth, there were many days of dense coastal fog, which doesn’t happen much any more.
So I personally have experienced a number of things associated with air quality and climate change. For me to deny this would be doubting my own eyes.
Horner may have some verifiable facts and some anomalous statistics. I have common sense.
The Earth is, itself, an organism. It breathes. It has daily, monthly, and yearly cycles of renewal and restoration. And it has lived continuously for well over six hundred million years. It has survived drastic, life-threatening illnesses. The last was some 65.5 million years ago when a huge asteroid hit southern Mexico and wiped out almost all photosynthesis for six years or so.
There were even worse events earlier that destroyed most, but not all of Gaia’s varied and interactive organelles, but Gaia is resilient and bounced back and evolved new forms of life to sustain and enrich Herself.
Compared to these events, Her current infestation is a minor cold; a small inconvenience. Still, She’s feeling it. She has a mild fever; Her temperature slightly above normal.
Her skin has been scarred by miners, loggers, and road builders; Her veins restricted by dam builders, Her lungs polluted with smog and chemical waste, and many of Her organelles have been hunted or fished to extinction or near extinction.
In its hostile takeover of Her, mankind has been selfish and brutal, treating everything in his path as something to be personally owned and controlled, as a possession of personal value to be bought, sold, or destroyed for his own selfish benefit. It is true that he has mitigated certain problems he’s caused with work-arounds: salmon ladders, drainage ditches, fishing seasons and restrictions, whaling bans (but only after the major damage was already done), and environmental laws and smog restrictions. But in a world where profit is the ultimate incentive for most human activity, it is only a matter of time before this resourceful pest will work around these barriers to self-indulgence and self-aggrandizement.
The Earth is overrun by people who, like locusts, are stripping Africa bare of her trees and wildlife. We are already well past the point where nature is in balance and every day, our numbers increase and our ceaseless rape of the landscape continues and expands into new territory.
And Christopher Horner is telling us “Trust me, it’s all a scam to increase governmental control over your lives.” Well, we are a mean beastie who, through lust for money, fame, and power has done many atrocities to himself and his fellows and his environment. Maybe government IS trying to take over from individuals. The ones profiting excessively aren’t the ones running our elections. They merely own stock. And it is the system of corporate capitalism that has neither compassion nor conscience.
I trust corporate capitalism to keep doing what it’s always done: feed itself gluttonously at the expense of everyone and everything else.
It’s not that I trust bureaucracies to do the right thing. It’s that I trust corporate capitalism to do only what is in the interest of short-term profit. And that is rarely what is good for anyone in the long run.
Nuclear Power: My home is currently run on 75% solar power and 25% nuclear power. And I would have made it 100% solar power if I’d had enough South-facing roof. I studied nuclear power prior to the statements on page 4, and I’m not for it. The problems are waste products and nuclear accidents. Until we can find better solutions to these problems, the “nuclear solution” is merely one more example of man’s short-term thinking. While we’ve had nuclear power, we’ve had Three Mile Island, Chernobyl (an ongoing ecological disaster), and Fukushima Naiishi (another ongoing ecological disaster), as well as dozens of other less well-publicized problems in addition to the gradually leaking containers of waste products into underground water supplies and oceans.
Nuclear power and nuclear weapons again infect Gaia and are not sustainable or reliable in the long term. The cause is, I believe, the selfishness and greed of mankind who ignores even his own long term well-being in the singular pursuit of short-term self-gratifying goals.
©April, 2018, David N. Dodson, Phoenix, AZ