There is a good chance American society will soon be committed to huge new expenditures based on the urgency to do something about the anticipated ravages of climate change. Some of the monster amounts (in trillions) the Biden administration is asking for will, in fact, be spent on making everything in sight electric, especially (but not limited to) automobiles. This is happening at a time when fossil fuels prices are near a historical low and we, in the US, are awash in clean energy in the form of natural gas and nuclear power. There is no “proven reserves” limitations on either as there was in my youth with respect to petroleum, for example. (You read that right. When I was thirty, the “proven reserves of petroleum,” oil in the ground, were a fraction of the amount of petroleum we have actually extracted and used since then!)
As a fairly idle retired old dude, I follow a variety of media almost copiously. I do it daily in two languages, English and French. In both languages, the news and a wide variety of programs, including practically all documentaries, take the reality of “climate change” as unquestioned and unquestionable. In my heart though, I am sure the French anchor and the American news commentator who casually mention “climate change” have only the vaguest idea of what the two magic words mean. I would bet large amounts on my guess.
This whole thing puzzles me because it seems to me the quasi-religious zeal that used to accompany the mention of most climate topics has abated a lot in, say, ten years. Perhaps, it’s because successful religions need not be clamorous. Still it perplexes me that millions, in America and world-wide, are accepting the prospect of multi-generational debt and probably of a reduced standard of living in the absence of a clear explanation of what events/developments they are avoiding through such meek assent.
I, for one, have not come across an explanation although I almost certainly spend more time with the media than most well educated people. I am aware that the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change threatens us with a one degree centigrade rise in mean global temperatures before the end of this century if we don’t mend our collective ways. (Or, is it 1.5 C? I don’t care to check. See why below.) I tend to think that that which cannot be expressed with figures probably should not become the object of government policy. And if it does, it should only come to the attention of local government whose subjectivity I understand best. But the warnings on climate change are often in fact expressed in a quantitative manner. This one, at least, satisfies my criterion, this criterion, this way: one degree centigrade (or, maybe, 1.5 C).
What is discreetly but stubbornly missing in the associated narrative is this: Why should I care? If the +one C. change happened even suddenly, say, within ten minutes, it wouldn’t be enough to cause me to go and get a sweater. I doubt it would even be sufficient to get me to roll down my sleeves.
So, please, Ms. and Mr. Media (and yous and theys) try to remember to remind me of what horrors are awaiting us if we don’t mind climate change enough. Please, limit yourselves to whatever noxious effects have clear and fairly abundant scientific backing (say, two published studies in double-blind refereed journals). Please, include the references or, better, links, so that I and my fellow “deniers” can try and read the studies if the spirit so moves me and us. And no, I shouldn’t have to be on my own to go searching for the scientific backing that you keep implying supports your (your) beliefs that I, we, don’t share, at this point. If you don’t do so, at least once in a while, it proves that your ideas are bankrupt. It also means that the giant expenditures you are forcing on us are based on wanton lies.
One last thing: Don’t bother lecturing me on clean air and clean water; I am in favor of both. And, I agree that we use too much plastic.