Wednesday, March 15, 2023

#74 / Here Come The Climate Crusaders

When The Wall Street Journal talks about "Climate Crusaders," the paper is not applauding their existence or their ambitions. Quite the contrary. Take The Journal's February 13, 2023, "Life Science" column by Allysia Finley as an example of how The Journal uses the term. The headline on the column proclaims that "The Climate Crusaders Are Coming for Electric Cars, Too." The Journal doesn't make that seem like a "good thing," does it?

Here is how Finley begins her column: 

Replacing all gasoline-powered cars with electric vehicles won’t be enough to prevent the world from overheating. So people will have to give up their cars. That’s the alarming conclusion of a new report from the University of California, Davis and “a network of academics and policy experts” called the Climate and Community Project (emphasis added).
According to its website, the "Climate and Community Project" is "a progressive climate policy think tank developing cutting-edge research at the climate and inequality nexus." I feel certain that Finley is not misrepresenting what that recent report says. She calls it "crazy," but what if the researchers at the Climate and Community Project are right, and our failure to achieve what is often called "net zero" greenhouse gas emissions will lead to millions of deaths and the failure of the planet's ability to sustain the environment which has made human (and other) life possible? And what if "giving up our cars" is, really, the only way we can prevent the runaway global warming that is threatening the natural environment on which our human civilization depends?
That is a question not pursued by Finley or The Journal. But what if this new report is right? The Journal claims that "progressives' ultimate goal is to reduce consumption - and living standards." That is an unfair, though not unexpected, assertion, because it might just be true that unless we reduce our living standards our living standards will not only be "reduced," but will plunge to "zero," as the Earth systems that sustain those living standards fail.
I call this blog, "We Live In A Political World" because we do. Most immediately, we live in a world that we human beings construct ourselves - we can call it "human civilization." 

I used to call this blog "Two Worlds," because while we live, most immediately, in a "Political World," we ultimately live in a world that we did not create ourselves. That can be called the "Natural World," or even "the World God Made." Our civilization, and our "living standards," depend, ultimately, on the continuing ability of that "Natural World" to sustain and support our civilization - our "living standards." 
When the Natural World fails us (and that is what climate scientists are telling us will happen, and relatively soon) not having personal cars will be the least of our concerns. 
Perhaps worth mentioning is another article that appeared on my front lawn on the morning of February 13th. In The New York Times, a front page article carried this headline: "Amnesty Eased Building Codes Around Turkey." The Times told us that a political decision in Turkey, to provide an "amnesty" to builders who were shown to have violated construction standards, was largely applauded by the public. But after the recent earthquake, people are now "mad." 

Using the approach advocated by The Wall Street Journal, we will end up with a disaster that won't be relegated to a single region of a single nation, but that will affect everyone on Earth. Maybe "giving up our cars" might not be such a bad idea, considering the alternatives! Let us, at least, stay open to the idea that we might, really, have to change how we are conducting ourselves. 

If we want human civilization to survive, that is!

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