Climate change is all over the news. With the Paris Accord so fresh in the mind, people can’t help but be thinking about it. The hysterics are at a fever pitch and they seem primed to stay there. At least until Comey testifies on Thursday anyways. The demands ring out from the roof tops, the government must act now to save Mother Earth.
This invited my thoughts to wander in to environmental policy. This is not an area of particular strength for me. I did take a few related courses while I was in college but that doesn’t mean much, especially anymore. That said I’ve got some thoughts here I would still like to share with you all.
First of all let’s talk a little about climate science and climate change. This is tricky. It’s become impossible to refute that our climate is changing. It’s impossible to dispute that we have played some role in the way it is changing. There is still quite a bit to be settled though. How much of the Earth’s natural rythms have we taken in to account? We know that there have been hot times and cold times. We know there have been ice ages that have led to mass extinction events. It seems to me that everyone can acknowledge these facts. This leads to the several questions of what must be done.
Progressives insist that the government must do everything in its power to arrest and stop climate change. This has in some outlets even led to such extreme policy suggestions as vehicle and meat bans. Or even editorialized takes on how badly we need limits in the number of children we have. These are horrible ideas. If the government strong arming energy industries out of existence won’t make enough of a difference than these suggestions won’t either.
Progressives should accept that we have may have disrupted the climate. But we haven’t badly enough to create irreparable damage. The Earth’s natural cycles are tough enough to survive us. This doesn’t mean that we can’t make personal choices so to encourage each other to work in reducing our impact and building a safer Earth.
This is why only rich hippies can save the environment. We must start with private action and this must come from the people who can most afford it. Stop riding around in private jets. Instead spend that money in things like funding research directly. Heck form companies to research terraforming, it isn’t a bad idea. But it has to start with us, with people because anything the government can do will hurt people now far more severely than the good that could result from it’s actions. A government response to climate change fails the basic sniff rest of utilitarianism.