Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

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Uncommon Sense on Global Warming

As I’ve said before, I disdain from cluttering this august political site with the latest dreariness about global warming (if you’re a glutton for this subject, bookmark NR’s Planet Gore instead.) But sometimes an extraordinarily good article will appear in the most unlikely place. Such is the case with physicist Freeman Dyson’s splendid article in the New York Review of Books. The editors and regular readers of the NYRB must he having a case of the vapors (hopefully not greenhouse gas vapors. . .)

Here’s Dyson’s important conclusion:

All the books that I have seen about the science and economics of global warming, including the two books under review, miss the main point. The main point is religious rather than scientific. There is a worldwide secular religion which we may call environmentalism, holding that we are stewards of the earth, that despoiling the planet with waste products of our luxurious living is a sin, and that the path of righteousness is to live as frugally as possible. The ethics of environmentalism are being taught to children in kindergartens, schools, and colleges all over the world.

Environmentalism has replaced socialism as the leading secular religion. And the ethics of environmentalism are fundamentally sound. Scientists and economists can agree with Buddhist monks and Christian activists that ruthless destruction of natural habitats is evil and careful preservation of birds and butterflies is good. The worldwide community of environmentalists—most of whom are not scientists—holds the moral high ground, and is guiding human societies toward a hopeful future. Environmentalism, as a religion of hope and respect for nature, is here to stay. This is a religion that we can all share, whether or not we believe that global warming is harmful.

Unfortunately, some members of the environmental movement have also adopted as an article of faith the be-lief that global warming is the greatest threat to the ecology of our planet. That is one reason why the arguments about global warming have become bitter and passionate. Much of the public has come to believe that anyone who is skeptical about the dangers of global warming is an enemy of the environment. The skeptics now have the difficult task of convincing the public that the opposite is true. Many of the skeptics are passionate environmentalists. They are horrified to see the obsession with global warming distracting public attention from what they see as more serious and more immediate dangers to the planet, including problems of nuclear weaponry, environmental degradation, and social injustice. Whether they turn out to be right or wrong, their arguments on these issues deserve to be heard.

Discussions - 6 Comments

Are we responsible for other planets in our solar system warming up?

This global warming thing is nothing more than a blatant attempt at control over everything we do.

Man has always attempted to control man and this is no exception. Not even communism escaped this basic fact of human life.

As the religious environmentalists contine to bow to the AGored Global Warming god while the world just experienced the coldest winter since 1966, the Chinese are drilling oil 40 miles off the coast of Florida and in Mexico gas is under $2.50 a gallon. The world has to be laughing at the U.S. and I for one laugh with them. What a joke we are....

Schramm asking an aspiring ashbrook scholar: "What is the nature of an acorn?"

Student: "The nature of an acorn is to become a genetically engineered carbon eating oak tree."

I happen to believe in the idea that man is contributing to global warming. And I think much of the skepticism does come from those who fear the economic implications. But I'm associated with a company called Recycled Energy Development, which reduces manufacturers carbon emissions and energy costs at the same time. The basic idea is to take waste heat -- which power plants and manufacturers emit in abundance -- and turn it into power. EPA and DoE estimates suggest the U.S. could get 40% of its power this way. Unfortunately, regulations give monopolies to utilities, making it hard for more efficient options to emerge. So doing more on this front is something we all should be able to agree on.

"Environmentalism has replaced socialism as the leading secular religion."

Really? I could have sworn that FREE MARKET CAPITALISM replaced socialism as the leading secular religion. Unless anyone here wants to admit that it's a theistic religion.

The fact is that a very strong majority of scientists in the RELEVANT fields see global warming as the greatest threat to the ecology of our planet. I'll take their word any day over Beltway think tankers with little to no science training or background.

But how do you account for Russian ice core samples that tell us we have been far warmer than we are today?

Are we putting 'greenhouse' gases in the atmosphere? Yes.

Is this contributing to global warming? No one really knows, not event the scientists you put on a pedastal!

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