Pulitzer Prize winner Charles Krauthammer never beat around the bush on any issue whether political or personal. This was a man who in his early twenties had a crippling accident, and while on his back in his hospital bed, managed not only to finish his medical degree, but graduate from Harvard Cum Laude. A combination of scientist, political analyst, author, and philanthropist; I valued and still value his opinion. In the latest combination of Charles’ columns for The Washington Post, (The Point of it All), one column in particular caught my eye. Written in November of 2014, he unabashedly called it The Climate Pact Swindle. I thought it appropriate as we face a global climate change mass hysteria.
As Charles unceremoniously declared, we do not know enough about our homeostatic mechanisms to make any definite generalization about the climate, however, pumping crap into the air is never good. This sentiment did not give a pass to the “scientists” that in his own words are “arrogant” and “ignorant” in their claim that climate science has forever been “settled”. His skepticism comes from his own scientific background as a doctor in psychiatry and based on the fact that science is neither stationary nor absolute. We only need to remember past claims of scientific absolutes that banished eggs, red meat, and butter to the back burner of the “food pyramid”. Can anyone say KETO diet? Like any flavor of the month and our obsession with scientific “truth”, every generation goes overboard with pessimistic fear of Armageddon. Climate change has risen to the ranks of apoplectic disasters.
In 2014, Charles succinctly pointed out that the Obama-Xi climate agreement was not only limpid in substance but a fraud at the expense of the US and other western nations. China and India are the biggest contributors to CO2 emissions on the entire planet. Both pollute without mercy. While the US and Europe have decreased CO2 emissions considerably, China continues to mine coal and other pollutants that include lithium; a toxic mineral used in batteries. Even if every coal mine in the US would close down, global CO2 emissions would not be reduced significantly as long as China and India are allowed to continue on their present environmental course.
Chinese cities live in haze of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, mercury compounds, and other deadly pollutants. The O-X agreement gave China a pass until 2030. That is when China is expected to meet its promised goal of producing 20% of its energy from alternative energy. How generous. In the meantime, liberal pinheads in Congress pound the gavel against the US and propose “a green deal”. CO2 has atmospheric effects but does not poison the air; while China’s pollutants are toxic poisons that kill. But that conveniently escapes the congressional pinheads.
The climate change movement continues with a vengeance. The current caped crusader is a 15-year old kid from Sweden, Greta Thunberg. She is out to save the world. Well, good for her. Better saving the planet than sniffing glue, but her teenage bopping movement is rather disconcerting. Greta Thunberg has not lived long enough to either be pessimistic or outraged at the rest of us. Leave that to the idiot politicians. It is admirable that the youth are taking interest, it is not admirable that they skip school, especially in the US where kids lag 46th behind other nations. Maybe if they channeled their energy to real science they might learn first hand about our planet and what makes it “tick”. They would not need to follow the doomsday masses into truancy. They need to take to the books before they take to the streets. I wonder how many of them have studied atmospheric homeostatic planetary mechanisms and the many variables of CO2’s effect on planetary life.
Are we responsible for the well being of our planet? We sure are. Did we fuck it up? Yes we did. There are some waterways in the world which have been thrashed beyond repair. Third world countries have polluted their natural resources so badly that drinking water has become a commodity. The current over development of the Amazon forests is criminal. Which brings me back to Greta and her ardent young followers? An oxy moron because intermittent with their zealous climate activism is their addiction to technology. Probably unawares to them that technology is partially responsible for mining major toxic particulates like lithium found in most cell phone, computer, and android batteries. Such mining often done through cheap almost slave labor and exploitation of the poorest. Not an integral part of the green deal now is it?
Germany is now seriously thinking of raising fuel prices and taxes again. The natives are not amused. The idea is to discourage driving. Really? As one impatient and angry German asked; is Merkel going to be taking him to work? Some cities and counties have already prohibited diesel vehicles from entering their domain. Farmers and trucking drivers are up in arms. Diesel is cheaper than gasoline and if they have to revert to gasoline then they are economically crippled. They would have to raise prices and be driven out of business in favor of cheaper produce from overseas. The distribution chain relying mostly on trucks, would also impact the consumer market and eventually the economy.
The climate enthusiasts in Germany don’t seem to mind other countries having high CO2 emissions in lieu of cheaper imports. Hypocrisy at its best. As far as diesel being given a bad rap; new diesel engines are equipped with particle filters and catalytic converters. They are reasonably on par with gasoline engines in CO2 emissions. Research and tests have shown that in the cold (and Germany is cold), gasoline cars can actually emit more CO2 crap then their diesel counterparts. Also, in recent studies, measuring emissions from air born particulate solids and carbonaceous particulate matter, diesel did not fare better or worse than petroleum. So why the angst? Merkel bending down to the environmentalists to preserve an already shaky coalition. Little to do with the well being of the planet and a lot to do with politics.
In 1993, Charles Krauthammer gave an address to the McGill Class of 1993 in Montreal, Canada. His speech was entitled Three Pieces of Sage Advice. The first piece is relevant to the current climate change breast beating anguish. He reminded the students of past national hysteria that often gripped nations with little cause for a “bull horn” alarm. We went from Cold War apocalyptic Nuclear freeze movements to environmental movements without giving much thought to the fact that nuclear weapons are not only still prolific but still dangerous. Iran comes to mind. Nobody is running through the streets asking Iran to disarm. Hell, the European Union can’t go back to Iran fast enough and do business as usual. When activism finds itself in a vacuum something else must fill the dooming void. An addiction to global fear.
In his speech, Charles told Class of ’93 that there still exist nuclear and environmental concerns; but there is a difference between a problem and manic panic. Charles was trying to instill in his audience a sense of balance and intellectual non-conformity to mass hysteria. No one can predict the future based on human articulation and understanding of the science du jour. To even submit that we have solved the science of climate is beyond arrogant. Charles, like many of us question the sincerity of the climate apocalypticists who think that unless we quit eating beef, go back to riding horses (unless they also belch and fart and produce CO2), and get rid of all modern amenities, we are doomed. But they only pass sentence on us. China on the other hand gets a 16-year reprieve and a hallway pass. Charles’ final thoughts: When confronted with a movement of dread and amplified doom: keep your heads.