The root cause of climate catastrophism

In this issue:

  • The root cause of climate catastrophism 
  • Power Hour: Green policies vs. green energy, Trump’s environmental offensive, and NASA’s 97% lie
  • The Human Flourishing Project: No Means Yes

The root cause of climate catastrophism

Last week I got a thoughtful message from a UK-based reader, who wrote:

Do you have a position on…predictions of civilisational collapse / mass extinction events / climate catastrophe etc? I hear a number of my bright & well-educated friends making dire predictions and impassioned calls to arms, but I can’t help thinking they’ve been smoking their own supply. 

I believe that the root of today’s environmental catastrophism is a framework of false, anti-human assumptions and values.

Catastrophists hold what I call the “delicate nurturer” view of Earth and the “polluter-parasite” view of human beings. They believe that long-term human survival requires that we human parasites refrain from impacting the delicate, nurturing Earth. If we do that, the Earth will supposedly be a stable, safe, and sufficient place to life. Thus, minimizing our impact on our environment—being “green”—is a proper goal.

None of this is true.

The Earth is not a delicate nurturer (it’s a ball of wild potential) and human beings are not polluter-parasites (we are producers).

Human survival and human flourishing come from human producers intelligently transforming a dynamic, dangerous, and deficient Earth into an abundant and safe human environment.

Inherent in our productive way of life is continuous change of conditions in the human environment—how many people there are, what technologies exist, what people value, what wealth exists, what diseases exist, where there is war and peace, etc. A change in climate conditions, to the extent it occurred, would just be another change in our environment.

And it will almost certainly not be the most consequential one we face in the coming decades.

As I’ve discussed at length in The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels, free, productive human beings are increasingly masters of all kinds of climate danger, whether massive natural climate danger or speculated manmade climate danger.

While our culture is obsessed with what will happen if the average temperature of the planet rises to 1.5 degrees more than it was during the Little Ice Age, I’m much more concerned about changes that could come from antibiotic resistance or massive deficit spending (and therefore inflation) or the rise of certain hostile foreign powers.

I also think that many largely positive developments, such as AI and automation, will create more challenging changes in conditions than rising CO2 levels will.

But the biggest change in conditions I am concerned about is the one proposed by the climate catastrophists: a government-dictated “green energy” system.

Our ability to adapt to change depends on our productive ability—and our productive ability depends on our energy system, which is overwhelmingly fueled by fossil fuels.

The global, fossil fueled energy system, it is important to recognize, is the product of millions of smart entrepreneurs, engineers, and other energy specialists competing and collaborating to find the most efficient ways to make energy cheap, plentiful, and reliable for billions of people.

Today’s catastrophists have no appreciation for the role of our energy system in our unprecedented standard of living, nor for the role of fossil fuels in our unprecedented energy system.

In the name of science and long-term planning, they propose to replace our ingenious global energy system with a government-dictated system based on inefficient, unreliable “green technologies” that no one has ever made work on a meaningful scale.

Thus, the catastrophists are not protecting us from a catastrophe—they are advocating a catastrophe.

Power Hour: Green policies vs. green energy, Trump’s environmental offensive, and NASA’s 97% lie

On this week’s Power Hour, Don, Steffen, and I covered seven topics:

The Human Flourishing Project: No Means Yes

On the latest episode of The Human Flourishing Project I discuss how saying “no” to most requests is essential to saying “yes” to your most important values.