Some people are complaining/agreeing with Matt Ridley’s latest piece on climate change in the Wall Street Journal. If you are familiar with Ridley’s output on the issues, then none of it will be new to you. Some (half OK) stuff about how bad renewables are; some (dubious) stuff about climate sensitivity being lower than most scientists think; and so on and so forth.
As always, there is a flourish at the end.
We should encourage the switch from coal to gas in the generation of electricity, provide incentives for energy efficiency, get nuclear power back on track and keep developing solar power and electricity storage. We should also invest in research on ways to absorb carbon dioxide from the air, by fertilizing the ocean or fixing it through carbon capture and storage. Those measures all make sense. And there is every reason to promote open-ended research to find some unexpected new energy technology.
The one thing that will not work is the one thing that the environmental movement insists upon: subsidizing wealthy crony capitalists to build low-density, low-output, capital-intensive, land-hungry renewable energy schemes, while telling the poor to give up the dream of getting richer through fossil fuels.
A rather curious way to end it, I’d say. Ridley is essentially telling his right-wing readers at the WSJ that, yes, you’re opposition to climate change is selfish, but if you rationalise it long enough you can turn it into a defence of the poor.
This, though, is a persistent theme. Spend any time reading the blogs of climate change “skeptics” and you will find this at every turn. People whose politics would do nothing but damage to the poor will instantly act as if their opposition to wind farms or cuts to carbon emissions is all in the name of the poor. I once had a curious discussion with one of these people who was adamant that climate change action would do great damage to the world’s poor, and that Britain should scrap all foreign aid. Think about that.
This goes, of course, to the supposed slaughter of endangered birds by wind turbines. The ecological sensitivies of the apparently ecologically unsensitive prick up the second a wind turbine slices and dices an eagle. There is no evidence – and I’ve looked – of any of these people caring about birds dying by any other means.
And so it goes on.
Ridley’s article points to a new book “The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels” by Alex Epstein, a book that appears to be full of praise for the power of fossil fuels to liberate the poor. It also appears to be rather popular among right-wing libertarians whose policies would remove whatever benefit fossil fuels would provide the poor.
The book’s website tells us the following:
ALEX EPSTEIN started the Center for Industrial Progress to offer an alternative environmental philosophy to America, one that is anti-pollution but pro-development.
It is worth paying attention to the words people use. Someone’s read views can be betrayed with a single world. So ask yourself why it is the word “but”, and not “and” in this sentence?