The warm lie Wednesday November 25, 2009, 0 comments

First, let me state emphatically that I have always been an ‘environmentalist’.

The reason that’s in quotes is because that word has, like so many other good words, been co-opted and twisted and bent to mean something different than it should. To me, environmentalism has always been about intelligent, efficient use of resources and intelligent, elegant solutions to the waste produced by modern industry.

But that’s not what it means any more. Now environmentalism is about being anti-government, anti-economy, ant-establishment, anti-global-warming, anti- all sorts of things. Even meat! Environmentalism has become about being against other things, not for the environment. About shaming people into approved behaviour, and shaming them out of behaviour that isn’t. Sounds like religion to me.

But of all of it, the whole thing, it’s the global warming thing that’s been getting to me the most lately.

While I agree (who other than an oil man wouldn’t?) that we should be making more efficient cars, making more efficient use of and investment in public transit, and doing out best not to waste energy, I do not believe we should be doing these things to ward off global warming. I think we should be doing them because it’s the smart thing to do. The more efficient we are, the lower our energy costs are. Hell, my kind of environmentalism isn’t anti-economy, it’s capitalism at work.

But back to the global warming thing.

I don’t really believe in it. I don’t believe in the ‘hockey stick’ graphs that the major media outlets have been trotting out for decades. I think the science behind such charts smells bad. There’s too much politics tied up in it. One need look no further than the fact that the face of the anti-global-warming resistance is a former Vice President of the United States.

I was somewhat vindicated recently when it came to light that the science that’s been supporting this wholesale attack on the phantom menace of global warming has been seriously cooked. I don’t find myself surprised. Like I said, I’ve always believed it smelled a bit funny.

While I can, like many others, point out the extremely hot summers we had from the mid-1990s till the mid 2000s as anecdotal evidence of global warming and have Al Gore and his army nod emphatically at my astuteness, if I were to point out the last two summers and winters in this area which have been colder than any I remember in my life, they’ll just say its an aberration, and that the trend is still up, up, up! One has only look at the hockey stick graph to see it, right? Forget that rubbish some scientists have been saying about solar activity. No way could changes in the output of the sun have any effect on the temperature of the earth! Their science is wrong!

How about this? Instead of lying and destroying credibility for what could be a pretty good movement, if only it weren’t becoming the next big religion, how about we just put the science out there, the measurable facts, and let people make informed decisions. Why lie?

It’s laughable that a spike in oil prices last year did more to finally put fuel efficient cars on the road than four decades of evangelizing about global warming by bearded hippies and overfed ex-politicians and bad scientists. That’s because people react locally. Hit them in the wallet, and they’ll change their consumption patterns to minimize the impact. If you want people to use less gas, make gas more expensive. See? It worked!

I am completely behind the message, if that message is that we have to make more efficient use of our non-renewable resources before we run out of them. Yes, we need to get more sustainable energy production going, and yes, we have to compensate for any reduction in production due to responsible practices by increasing efficiency and using less to do more.

But you know what? That’s just sound economics. It doesn’t have to be sold to us with a big lie.


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