Sunday, April 29, 2007

Natural progress towards a greener world

I have to admit that I have been somewhat baffled by the intense passion of the proponents of the global warming/climate change movement, but I think I finally have a handle on what their passion is really all about, and it is not simply about making the world a better place to live or simply about protecting the environment, but a particular worldview that they have about how change occurs in the world. Here is a catalog of the characteristics of their worldview for change that I have noticed over the years:

  • Lack of faith in human nature
  • Too much faith in fear as a human motivator
  • Mean-spiritedness
  • Desire to use heavy-handed government control to coerce people and businesses
  • Lack of faith in practicality
  • Lack of faith in progress - of technology, institutions, businesses, and individuals
  • Lack of faith in science and a willingness to twist and distort science in the pursuit of political, social, and "moral" agendas
  • Lack of comprehension of how big and complex the world is, and how evolutionary and emergent phenomena are
  • Overly-simplistic view of how the atmosphere, oceans, biosphere, and geosphere interact and influence each other
  • Too much faith in overly-simplified models
  • Too much faith in anecdotes
  • Too much faith in rhetoric
  • Greater faith in anecdotes and rhetoric than science and analytic studies
  • Extreme impatience and unwillingness to let the environment adjust at its own pace
  • Extreme shortsightedness - thinking about climate in terms of decades and even years rather than centuries and millennia
  • Patronizing attitude to everything and everyone
  • Lack of optimism and generally pessimistic view of any "future" of which they are not in control
  • Tremendous hubris: if the rest of us don't do exactly as they say, we're all going to have a very gloomy future
  • Guilt trippers: Trying to blame perceived environmental problems on the rest of us and our parents and grandparents.
  • Refusal to lead by example: What is stopping all of the people who claim that global warming and climate change is caused by man and carbon dioxide to stop driving and cut their energy use by at least 80%? Why don't these people understand that leading by example is the best way to go?
  • Belief that crises are the best and only real motivators of people and their institutions
  • Lack faith in the power of free will

Although I personally do not agree that the relationship between human activity and global warming and climate change is "beyond debate", I actually do agree with a lot (but not all) of the remedies being proposed. I do believe, as a matter of principle rather than because someone is holding a gun to my head, that energy and resource efficiency and a smaller environmental footprint are very good things. I believe in pursuing alternative forms of energy. I believe in renewable energy. I believe in conservation. I believe in higher fuel economy. I believe limiting deforestation and encouraging reforestation. And on and on. But, I also believe that much of these changes will occur as a result of natural human progress and that the heavy-handed "crisis" approach of the proponents of the global warming/climate change "movement" is entirely inappropriate and in fact quite inhumane. Worse, their political and social policies are unlikely to accomplish the changes that are needed or advantageous and put in place massive bureaucratic barriers that will in fact stymie changes that would have occurred naturally.

We should resolve to enhance efficiency and reduce our resource usage as expeditiously as possible, but in as sane, rational, humane, natural, and as calm a way as possible.

Whatever we do, it should make sense, and not be because some zealots brainwash innocent people into believing that we have no choice.

Our energy policies should be guided by sane science and sane economics, not forcibly twisted by narrow political or "moral" agendas.

I'm sure the natural progress towards a dramatically reduced environmental footprint will not be as rapid as the proponents of the global warming / climate change movement would like to see, but I do believe that the more natural we let that progress be, the more effective and durable it will be.

-- Jack Krupansky


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