CO2 and Global Warming Part 2 of 4
When it comes to global warming, I agree with the deniers. Well, what exactly are they denying?
They deny that the global climate is safer absent man‐made CO2 emissions. Life expectancy 200 years ago in this country was 35‐40 years. Now it’s approaching 80 years. There is a strong correlation between fossil fuel use and life expectancy.
Electricity feeds the machines that allow labs to test and perfect the medicines we use. Reliable, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week electricity keeps antibiotics refrigerated which extends life.
There are 1.3 billion people today with no electricity that will die an early death, of about 35‐40 years of life. That’s a problem that can be solved by the burning of fossil fuels.
The popular “climate change” discussion has the issue backwards. It looks at man as a destructive force for climate livability, one who makes the climate dangerous because we use fossil fuels.
In fact, the truth is the exact opposite; we don’t take a safe climate and make it dangerous; we take a dangerous climate and make it safe. Countries that are high energy users, not climate, is the answer to climate livability. Climate, itself, will always be naturally dangerous and the key question will always be whether we have the adaptability to handle it.
In 1970, China ramped up their fossil fuel use. Even with poor environmental policies, their life expectancy increased from 63 to 75. Their infant mortality rate has plummeted by 70%. The same thing is happening in India. Hundreds of millions of individuals have gotten their first light bulb, their first refrigerator, experienced their first year with clean drinking water, and their first year with a decent paying job.
Have we forgotten our own history? Our farms now run on machines that are fueled with fossil fuels. Fossil fuel energy is the food that increases our food production. A modern combine harvester driven by a single man, can reap enough wheat in a single day to make half a million loaves of bread. Irrigation wells in years of drought substantially increase a farmer’s ability to feed a hungry world. But technology to improve our standard of living and deal with weather challenges is useless unless we have the energy to run that technology.
Cheap food and cheap energy have worked their way through our economy and now we live better, live safer, and have more leisure time than those who lived 80 years ago, before we electrified our country. The old timers know this to be true, but many of them are no longer with us. They saw this contrast the same way those in China and India are now seeing this contrast. But we somehow now feel guilty for using these God‐given blessings of fossil fuels. Well, you can’t be a humanitarian and condemn the energy humanity needs.
I like what Alex Epstein said in his book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels. He said, “China and India and much of Southeast Asia are committing to technological progress, which means energy progress, which substantially means fossil fuel progress‐ and they don’t appear to be willing to sacrifice their futures to climate fear. Neither should we.”
Next week, we’ll look at the what our response should be to changing weather.