Global Warming: Where We Stand

Doug Sheridan gave me permission to reproduce his essay on where we stand in the whole global warming mess. Highly recommended. 

Joseph Sternberg writes in the WSJ, it’s accurate to lambaste our political class for its many climate hypocrisies and idiocies. But as climate policy becomes more expensive and less coherent by the week, voters deserve more and more of the blame.

However, whatever else voters say they want on climate, people really, really don’t want to redistribute the costs of mitigation toward those who emit more carbon—at least not if Johann Q. Publik thinks he might be the emitter in question.

Surveys in several large European economies in August found at least two-thirds of respondents in each country were worried about climate change—and totally unwilling to pay any personal costs to mitigate it... 

In—planting trees, subsidizing home insulation, taxing heavily emitting companies

Out—banning internal-combustion cars, limiting meat and dairy consumption, increasing fuel taxes

Hilarious—Support a frequent-flyer tax as long one doesn't think they’ll have to pay it themselves, since taxing all flights remains deeply unpopular

Even so, by promulgating apocalyptic rhetoric about climate change, the climate-industrial complex in politics, academia, green tech and the media has persuaded voters that climate change is an existential danger. This is why 77% of Britons can tell a pollster that climate change is “a serious global threat” and Germans can come to view their global leadership on this issue in quasimoral terms.

What a crash, then, as voters start noticing what net zero might cost them personally. Knowing that they can’t or won’t bear the costs themselves—but also unable or unwilling to drop the moral crusade—voters instead demand ever more creative expenditures of someone else’s money to achieve climate goals.

This explains the reluctance of even moderately sensible politicians to admit what they’re so obviously doing—abandoning the climate project. To wit, rollbacks of the most expensive, least popular climate measures, such as EV mandates or agricultural-vehicle taxes, invariably are accompanied by pledges to keep doing something else for the climate at someone else’s expense.

It’s a note of caution for those of us breathing a sigh of relief at recent net-zero reversals. Voters are growing clearer-headed about what they aren’t prepared to pay to avert climate change. Yet true sanity won’t arrive until they’ve decided they also don’t care about climate change as much as they say they do.

Our Take: It's tempting to believe the loss of momentum in Western nations for implementing every low-carbon measure under the sun means we'll soon be reintroduced to days of reason. Don't believe it. As Sternberg notes, as long as voters continue to tell politicians that dealing with climate change should remain a top priority, politicians will concoct bad policy trying to address it. But this time around, they'll do even more to hide the ball on costs.

My comments: I don't know about geothermal, so far it seems more like a niche. Hydro may be a more effective niche solution. Regardless, it is vital we stop throwing money at wind and utility-scale solar and ramp-up nuclear, hydro (where possible) and natural gas. Our nation is $34 Trillion in debt. 


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