Challenging the Premise of Our Destruction
The most powerful and destructive perception in the world today is that using fossil fuels will cause catastrophic climate change. This belief, marketed by every major government and corporate institution in the Western world, is the foundational premise underlying a policy agenda of stunning indifference to the aspirations of ordinary people.
The war on fossil fuel is a war on freedom, prosperity, pluralism, independence, national sovereignty, world peace, domestic tranquility, and, most ironically, the environment itself. It is a war of rich against poor, the privileged against the disadvantaged, corporate monopolies against competitive upstarts, Malthusians against optimists, regulators against innovators, and authoritarians against freedom-loving people everywhere.
But this war cannot be won unless the perception is maintained. If fossil fuel is allowed to compete against other energy alternatives for customers as a vital and growing part of an all-of-the-above energy strategy, this authoritarian political agenda falls apart.
It is reasonable to question the assertion that eliminating fossil fuels will inevitably result in an impoverished society subject to punitive restrictions on individual behavior. But the numbers are compelling and can be distilled to two indisputable facts: First, fossil fuel continues to provide over 80 percent of all energy consumed worldwide. Second, if every person living on planet Earth were to consume half as much energy per year as the average American currently consumes, global energy production would need to double.
Several inescapable conclusions derive from these two facts, if one assumes that energy is the driver of prosperity. Just in case that is not obvious, imagine Americans living with half as much energy as they use today. Where would the cuts occur? Would they drive their cars half as much? Heat their homes half as much? Operate manufacturing, farming, and mining equipment half as much? They would need to do all those things and more. The economy would collapse.
These consequences don’t escape the intelligentsia who promote “net zero” policies; The consequences explain the policies they advocate. The recent promotion of “15-minute cities” that will inform rezoning and redevelopment to put all essential services within a 15-minute walk of every residence. The rise of “congestion pricing” to charge automobiles special tolls if they drive into an expanding footprint of urban neighborhoods. “Smart growth.” “Infill.” “Urban Service Boundaries.” Bike lanes. “Smart buildings,” “smart meters,” and “smart cities.”
These “innovations,” all in progress, only begin to describe what is coming. By restricting new development and systematically reducing the use of fossil fuels, the global middle class will shrink instead of grow. The wealthiest elites will buy their way out of the smart slums. Everyone else will be locked down. This is how energy poverty will play out in the modern era. It cannot be emphasized enough: If energy production is restricted, this will happen. It’s algebra. It is objective fact.
Hardly less speculative is the reaction outside the Western world. What are our elites thinking? Do they intend to start World War III? Perhaps they do. Because nothing short of war is going to stop the Chinese, Indians, Indonesians, Pakistanis, Brazilians, Nigerians, or Bangladeshis from developing every source of energy they possibly can. Just those seven nations account for half the world’s population. That’s 4 billion people. Will they stop developing energy until they at least achieve half the per capita energy consumption that Americans currently enjoy? Not a chance. Will they get there by relying exclusively on wind and solar? Dream on.
Sadly, the seductive pitch America’s climate crisis lobby lobs at the elites running the aspiring nations of the world may find the strike zone. It goes like this: Let us help you keep your people in poverty and misery because we will make sure you stay rich while our military helps you stamp out insurrections. And as we prevent your nations from achieving food and energy security, we will drown you in debt to pay for imported food aid and “renewables” projects. But as one of us, you will not suffer with your people. You will have a Swiss bank account and a mansion in Malibu, where you will be feted by stars who honor you for helping prevent a climate catastrophe.
Fossil Fuel Will Not Cause a Climate Catastrophe
If you only believe half of the preceding arguments, you must realize that Americans have been backed into a corner. If anyone calls for abundant energy—or abundant anything, since energy, and fossil fuel in particular, is the prerequisite for virtually all goods and services—they are shouted down as “climate deniers.” And the way to upset the entire edifice is not to merely argue that fossil fuel is essential to the survival of civilization. Because the counterargument is that eliminating fossil fuel is essential to the survival of the planet.
That is an unwinnable argument. It is not possible to reason with an opponent of fossil fuel if you concede their fundamental premise: that burning fossil fuel will cause catastrophic climate change. You either become a “denier,” or you submit to energy poverty.
This is the tough decision facing Americans. And it’s accurate to also say it is a decision facing Republicans since literally every prominent, mainstream,, accommodating establishment Republican will not challenge the assertion that we’re experiencing a “climate crisis,” even though most of them know better. But this should be a bipartisan issue. For Republicans, this is an opportunity to show some backbone by rejecting the most destructive and fraudulent premise of our time. In so doing, they would unify their party, attract independent voters, and realign the nation.
Claiming that climate change is not catastrophic and unprecedented, or that fossil fuel is necessary to power civilization, remains today the territory of outliers. Tagged as contrarians at best, more often as eccentrics, lunatics, fanatics, shills, dupes, and morons, the “denier” community remains on the fringes. Joining this community risks losing personal credibility and the ability to work with every self-styled moderate, serious activist that just wants to recognize the political and commercial reality in America and get along.
The irony is stupefying. Without fossil fuel, America will enter dark age, and the only way to control a restive population that’s seen its standard of living plummet will be through the establishment of a technology-driven police state. They are the fascists. The so-called climate deniers are fighting for prosperity and freedom.
Matching the irony here in its shocking, stupefying absurdity is the arrogance and certainty of the climate alarmists: The climate cult. The useful, smothering, sanctimonious, intolerant, indignant, self-righteous, energized, pacified, out-of-control but controlled and manipulated, Kool-Aid guzzling climate cult, driving humanity off the cliff.
If you want to save civilization, be a denier. Say it loud and without reservations, and say it every chance you get. Demand that politicians publicly refute climate alarmism. It isn’t necessary to claim that the powers behind the climate cult want to enslave the world. We don’t know what motivates them. Some just want to get rich on renewables. Some want to use climate change to advance American global hegemony. But all of them rely on a fundamental moral justification: By eliminating fossil fuel, we are saving the planet from certain destruction. Focusing on the possible ulterior motives of climate alarmist leaders without first challenging their core moral argument is a fool’s errand.
The scientific body of evidence against climate alarmism is robust, but you won’t find much if you search Google. You have to dig it up piece by piece. One good denier database can be found here. Organizations and individuals posting useful climate contrarian material and links on Twitter include Climate Dispatch, Patrick Moore, Climate Realist, Steve Milloy, and Pierre Gosselin, and many, many more. Like all movements, the climate contrarian movement has its share of hacks and hyperbole. So be careful and diligent, but be resolute. Examine the data. Check and recheck sources. Make up your own mind. And make yourself heard.
There are plenty of environmental challenges. Being an environmentalist is a good thing. But there has to be balance, and there has to be debate. Claiming that anthropogenic CO2 will not cause catastrophic climate change is a credible, necessary point of view, backed up by scientific evidence. If more people make that claim, the climate cult can be broken, and civilization can be rescued from oblivion.
This article originally appeared in American Greatness.
Edward Ring is a senior fellow with the California Policy Center, which he co-founded in 2013. Ring is the author of Fixing California: Abundance, Pragmatism, Optimism (2021) and The Abundance Choice: Our Fight for More Water in California (2022).