- The debate over global warming, real or not, is coming to an end.
- The very same innovation that is producing the technologies will replace fossil fuels is being powered by fossil fuels. Ironic!
- This innovation is largely coming from private free market enterprises, driven by entrepreneurs and other practical dreamers.
- As clean technology is the goal of the movements they commandeered, socialist leaning politicians will claim credit for entrepreneurial outcomes. Many in the environmental and socialist movements believe big problems need big government solutions. Nothing is or will be further from the truth, a cleaner tomorrow will be the result of free enterprise.
“Earth Day” has come and gone and there is still nearly two feet of ice on the lake at the end of April. Omitted from this year’s celebration was the dire predictions of the recent past about the oncoming and seemingly unavoidable apocalypse of global warming. Instead, the Earth Day Network (the actual name of the organization) appropriately focused on “plastic pollution”. Plastic pollution in our oceans truly is one of the world’s greatest ecological disasters. The pollution of plastics in our oceans unfortunately gets very little attention as it does not create new mechanisms for governments to punish certain industries, subsidize others, and have more control over of our lives. A focus on keeping oceans clean, which cover 70% of the earths surface, would mean more accountability for the governments of the world. Government would rather have people accountable to them, not the other way around.
People who question the priorities of self-appointed environmentalist get labeled as global warming deniers, which is equated with the Flat Earth Society. After all, the environmentalists firmly claim that man-made global warming is settled science. For anyone to question the priorities of the narrowly established environmental movement is an invitation to getting shouted down and labeled. The environmentalists don’t want their theories about the effects of carbon dioxide debated. They don’t want their data, or the data collection methods discussed. They don’t want to defend their models. They are very squeamish trying to explain why their predictions did not come to pass, so for the most part they don’t. And they most certainly do not want to defend the most moronic of oxymorons… “settled science”; science is never settled, it is an ongoing inquiry. Asking for a legitimate debate will set off a cascade of name calling, but name calling is all they have. The global warming alarmists can only show up at the debate table with a theory, selective data, and predictions that time has proven to be wrong.
I grew up during the time of alarmism over global cooling. Our teachers had us convinced that chlorofluorocarbons would prematurely bring the next ice age. I remember screaming matches between girls at their lockers in eighth grade over the use of aerosol Aqua Net hairspray. There was no less hysteria over the prospect of global cooling as there is over global warming. I have seen the discussion migrate from global cooling to the environmentalists regrouping later to launch the global warming theory, regroup once again to rebrand it climate change, only to realize the climate has always been changing, then launch the truly genius idea of climate disruption. With climate disruption they never have to be wrong – too hot, too cold, too dry, too rainy, there is your answer: the climate has been disrupted. Whatever happens with “climate disruption” they can backwards rationalize into their narrative always being the correct one. Perhaps the best backward rationalization came from Al Gore when he attempted to explain his many assertions that we would have a catastrophic planetary emergency if we didn’t act within his timeline. Those timelines have come and gone without the catastrophes or the flooding of large areas of our planet that Al Gore predicted. In a truly breathtaking interview, Al Gore asserted that those predictions didn’t come to pass because his warnings spurred innovation and lifestyle changes. Not Al Gore, not his warnings, nor his documentaries did anything to spur innovation.
Now that I have either delighted or angered a good number of readers, let me clarify: climate change is real. The climate has always been changing, and since mankind lit our first fire we have been contributing to it. Our major cities are “heat islands” that can get a lot warmer than similarly situated forested areas. Honest people have legitimate disagreements about the total effect of carbon dioxide and other so-called greenhouse gasses. Science is never settled. However, this debate is soon to become a non-issue, not because of Al Gore’s warnings, but because of private investment, free markets, the endless capacity of human ingenuity, and because of fossil fuels themselves. Environmentalists rejoice, the green revolution is arriving. Although it isn’t arriving because government took more control of commercial and individual activities. The reduction in potentially harmful emissions is happening in spite of our government wasting billions of our tax dollars on misadventures like Solyndra and Fisker. Ironically it is precisely inexpensive reliable carbon-based energy that is powering this ongoing transformation of American industry. The environmentalists are getting what they want, they just aren’t getting it the way they thought they would.
Recently Elon Musk joked about Tesla’s bankruptcy as an April Fools joke, I don’t know if that is a bad omen or just bad humor. Tesla might go bust, as pioneers often get scalped. However, Tesla appears to be poised for great things. Certainly, it has a great vision, and if Tesla isn’t viable as a business, its vison will most certainly come to fruition. If it was just one company, doubts would be warranted, but traditional automakers and wide swaths of the tech industry are investing heavily in integrated power systems and electric self-driving vehicles. Cutting the cord – the power cord – is essential. Our current electric vehicles are in actuality coal or natural gas powered, that’s where most of the electricity used to charge electric vehicles comes from. Electric vehicles, coal powered or otherwise, are a good first step, but a first step it is. It is entirely conceivable that soon we will neither need a driver license or have an electrical power cable coming into our homes.
In ten years’ time it will be anyone’s guess as to who will be producing the bestselling vehicle – perhaps Tesla, one of today’s cell phone manufactures, a tech giant, or Uber. However, while we may not know who will be selling it, we know what they will be selling, a total power solution. We will see innovations in battery storage capacities and the ability to harness the power of the sun using technologies we are just beginning to perfect. We may even see a scalable alternate fuel cell technology. What can power a car can power a house, can power a business, and the revolution will be total. A decade from now our cars, our homes, and our world might be powered by a clean technology just being developed today. There is no subsidy, government program, or regulation that will hurry that process, however it is subsidies, government programs, and regulations that will hurt innovation by misdirecting resources. It is best for future generations and the environment that our government does what it was designed to do, govern least.
There WAS so much divisiveness arising from the global warming debate or lack thereof. That is WAS, in the past tense. Al Gore’s circuitous explanations aside, we have made a lot of progress regarding energy-related environmental issues. It is with intentional irony that I make this prediction: because of an economy powered by low cost fossil fuels, in ten years’ time innovation will continue to build upon itself to the point where the traditional debate about global warming, climate change, and climate disruption will be moot. Furthermore, the energy revolution we are about to witness will propel major polluters like China and India to make radical reductions in their emissions. These reductions will take place not because of a new founded sense of social responsibility or concern for the environment, but because they don’t want to be left behind economically.
Once free market entrepreneurs have provided us the next generation of energy solutions, we really need to ignore the guy in the Baja hoodie who wants to talk about cow flatulence. We have oceans to save and lives to live.
Are the dire predictions of global warming correct? With two feet of ice in front of my house, I am skeptical. Is science settled? Only if you do not get the concept of science. Has humanity had an impact on our environment? Yep, every time you do something, anything, our environment is impacted.