There is a preventable calamity out there, purportedly the root cause of nearly all wars, refugee crises, sickness, misogyny, terrorism, hunger, poverty and everything else troubling mankind these days. The world is perpetually on the precipice of catastrophe —despite all evidence to the contrary—if we don’t act right now. Tomorrow is always too late.
So after being bombarded with this anxiety-ridden dogma for a couple of decades, it’s unsurprising that upwards of 75 percent of Americans claim to believe climate change is a problem in need of fixing. And most of them are willing to do absolutely anything necessary to stop this impeding disaster.
Or ride a bike.
Or skip a vacation.
According to a new Pew Research Center poll, the amount of cars that run purely on gas is up as a percentage over the past three years. Fewer than three percent of all cars, SUVs, pickup trucks and light-duty vehicles run on anything other than gas or diesel. The market for heavily-subsidized alternative-fueled vehicles has fallen. After years of subsidized unproductive sectors and constantly bolstering the idea that inefficient electric cars are the future, no one really wants them. Even the use of hybrid cars is down from 2013.
In 1980, 64 percent of Americans who commuted to work did would do so alone in their car. Today, even after massive publicity effort cajoling people to get out of their cars and billions of dollars spent on public transportation projects like light rail, 74 percent of Americans who commute to work do so alone in a car. The percentage of commuters who carpool has fallen by more than half. There are likely a number reasons contributing to this trend—a less-centralized workforce, for instance—but the number has significantly fallen even with the proliferation of POV lanes and the ceaseless end-of-days rhetoric from our presidents and media.
A few years back, Obama’s Secretary of Transportation told me that America would be transformed by an explosion of people cycling to work and to school. “Like China?” I wondered, not facetiously. Well, in 1980, .05 percent of Americans biked to work. Today, .06 percent of people do, according to Pew—though, for some unfathomable reason, there has been explosion of intrusive and impractical bike lanes across the country.
Government should be discouraging this dangerous behavior, anyway.
So it’s not surprising that the only way to pretend to make a difference is by coercion or limiting consumer choice. You have to laugh when Pew tells us that one of “the most dramatic shifts in recent years has been the rapid decline of the once-ubiquitous incandescent light bulb.” Well, gee, how do you think that happened? Since the regulatory phase-out of standard incandescent bulbs began in 2012, the residential light-bulb market has cratered only because the state believes it should dictate what innocuous household items Americans can buy.
The other big inspiring advance in environmentalism has been recycling, probably useless, but still compelled by many municipalities.
Part of this overall failure to press people into any substantive action (if we concede for a moment that any of these programs would make substantive difference, anyway) is that global warming soothsayers have become skilled at spinning terrifying stories, but still act as if there’s tradeoffs in implementing their schemes. Not only would Americans not have to make any genuine changes in their lifestyle, voters are regularly being told that industries created by global-warming fears and subsistent on corporate welfare engines of prosperity.
The emission-cut pledges that Obama Administration will negotiate in a couple of weeks in Paris, will be done without congress. It will be administered by the bureaucratic state. Never once will Obama mention during his inevitable victory speech that the cost of averting less than one degree of warming by 2100 will cost around one trillion per year, according to Bjorn Lomborg. Environmentalists will dismiss Lomborg’s findings, but the fact is that any assessment that includes China’s in-30-years-maybe-we’ll-do-something promise is a waste of time. If you—who live in perhaps the most affluent place that has ever existed on Earth—can’t take the time to buddy-up on your way to work, on what rational basis do you believe that China or India is going commit economic suicide on their volition?
Be thankful, though. The use of fossil fuels has been the greatest poverty killing tool ever invented by man.
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