By Christopher Guith
Europe has so many historical and cultural wonders that even the reddest of red-blooded Americans can find something European to be envious of. After all, it was Europeans who gave us Led Zeppelin, pizza, and beer and personally, I think it’s high time we consider adopting the siesta as a national policy. But what we don’t need to migrate across the pond are European energy prices.
Europe grew to be a manufacturing juggernaut in the 20th century utilizing technical acumen as well as the energy resources it had available. But manufacturing consumes massive quantities of energy, and while the continent was blessed with several Wonders of the World, it was not bestowed the greatest of energy resources, forcing it to increasingly rely on imports. Additionally, over the last two decades, the European Union and many of its members have stumbled down an experimental path of making energy less accessible and more expensive.
By making energy use more expensive, these policies have strained Europe’s once mighty manufacturing sector. Meanwhile, the energy revolution in the U.S. over the last decade has brought us some of the lowest energy prices in the world, and a subsequent manufacturing renaissance. We’ve already witnessed tens of billions of dollars invested in U.S. manufacturing with more on the way. But—and this is a big but --, this isn’t a fate accompli.
In fact, it has become vogue in certain extremist circles for politicians and the special interests that support them to champion EU energy policies and prices and wish them upon America. The latest installment in our Energy Accountability Series asks the question, What If....The United States Was Forced to Pay EU Energy Prices? In the spirit of Halloween, our analysis found the answer to be positively ghoulish. Importing EU energy prices to America would cost our economy about $700 billion and almost 8 million jobs. From a consumer standpoint, every household would be shelling out $4,800 more per year. Some states in particular would be hit hard. With its high level of fixed income residents, Florida would shed almost $30 billion from its economy. Other states blessed with robust manufacturing sectors would really be hobbled. Ohio would lose almost 190,000 jobs and Michigan about 160,000. Michigan would shed $12 billion from its economy, Illinois more than $17 billion and Ohio almost $15 billion.
Our analysis found major contractions in industries ranging from poultry to paper to food manufacturing. The bottom line is EU energy prices would be disastrous. So let’s keep importing the scrumptious chocolate - but leave the bad policy across the Atlantic.
By Lauretta Brown
“I would rather have questions that can’t be answered,” physicist Richard Feynman once said, “than answers that can’t be questioned”.
(CNSNews.com) - Nearly three-quarters of Americans don’t trust that there is a large “scientific consensus” amongst climate scientists on human behavior being the cause of climate change, according to an in-depth survey on “the politics of climate” released Tuesday by Pew Research Center.
According to the survey, only 27 percent of Americans agree that “almost all” climate scientists say that human behavior is mostly responsible for climate change, while 35 percent say that “more than half” of climate scientists agree on this. An additional 35 percent of those surveyed say that fewer than half (20%) or almost no (15%) climate scientists believe that human behavior is the main contributing factor in climate change.
Pew contrasted this to the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which “stated in the forward to its 2013 report, ‘the science now shows with 95 percent certainty that human activity is the dominant cause of observed warming since the mid-20th century.’”
Additionally, Americans were skeptical about the expertise of climate scientists.
Just 33 percent of those surveyed said that climate scientists understand “very well” whether global climate change is happening, another 39 percent said climate scientists understand this “fairly well.” Twenty-seven percent of those surveyed say climate scientists don’t understand this “too well” or don’t understand it at all.
When it comes to the causes of global climate change only 28 percent say climate scientists understand them “very well” while 31 percent say the scientists understand them “not too well” or “not at all.”
Additionally, Americans seemed to lack trust in climate scientists’ solutions to climate change. Only 19 percent say climate scientists understand very well the best ways to address climate change, and 35 percent say the scientists understand this not too well or not at all.
Americans also don’t trust the news media’s coverage of climate change. Forty-seven percent of those surveyed say the media does a “good job” covering global climate change, while 51% say they do a “bad job.”
Thirty-five percent of Americans say the media “exaggerate the threat of climate change” and 42 percent say the media “don’t take the threat of climate change seriously enough.” Just 20 percent say the media are “about right in their reporting.”
Overall, Pew noted that few Americans - only 11 percent - follow news about climate change “very closely.”
The findings in the Pew report are “based on a nationally representative survey of 1,534 U.S. adults conducted May 10 [ June 6, 2016.”
CNSNews.com is not funded by the government like NPR. CNSNews.com is not funded by the government like PBS.
Note in Europe where the greens pushed an agenda like the one the EPA and the Clinton DNC plans call for, energy prices skyrocketed, driving many into energy poverty (especially pensioners). High energy drove industry to relocate in countries with lower energy costs. Countries like Spain had unemployment reach over 27%.
Two must see videos from the Doctors of Disaster Preparedness meeting:
This week our civil rights were placed under direct attack on the floor of the U.S. Senate.
Rhode Island’s Sheldon Whitehouse led a small group of senators who attacked a number of free-market think tanks for having the temerity to correct them on “climate change” science and policy.
These senators offered a resolution condemning the think tanks for speaking out, calling for them to “to cooperate with active or future investigations.” Fortunately, these senators comprise a minority fringe in the Senate, yet their efforts to chill free speech is dangerous and must not go unchallenged.
CFACT President David Rothbard joined with the heads of twenty-one organizations who jointly fired off a powerful letter to the senators opposing this misuse of the their power. “Your threat is clear” the letter states, “There is a heavy and inconvenient cost to disagreeing with you. Calls for debate will be met with political retribution. That’s called tyranny. And, we reject it.” You can read the full letter at CFACT.org.
CFACT monitored what these senators said on the record, and came away surprised at how biased, shallow and flat out wrong was their understanding of the facts surrounding the climate debate.
Senator Whitehouse was particularly egregious. He repeatedly cited as his sources not scientific literature, nor the mainstream warming-compliant press, but rather such radical outlets as DeSmog Blog, the socialist magazine Mother Jones, a book entitled Poison Tea, and climate campaign and attack sites like Media Matters, Conservative Transparency Project, and Sourcewatch.
Whitehouse just read the climate-left’s propaganda directly into the record and treated it as gospel.
If this is the best these senators’ aids can do to inform them about climate science and prepare their remarks, the senators and their constituents are very poorly served. Yet this would explain the torrent of smugly presented, unscientific whoppers they brought forth.
New Hampshire Senator Jeanne Shaheen stated that “rising temperatures are affecting our tourism, our outdoor recreation and our agriculture industries and we’re experiencing an onset of negative health impacts and increases of insect borne diseases, lyme disease is one of those, all of which can be tied to the effects of climate change.”
Really, Senator Shaheen? Not cold enough for you or New Hampshire skiing? Have the people of New Hampshire forgotten so quickly that the winter of 2008 saw 115.2” of snowfall - the most in over a century? Have they forgotten that nearby Boston had its snowiest winter ever last year with 110.6”? A simple search of NOAA’s historical climate records shows there is nothing abnormal about New Hampshire weather.
Massachusetts Senator Ed Markey went over the top stating that anyone under the age of 31 “watching the Senate floor tonight has never experienced in their life a month whose temperature was below the 20th Century average” Could the Senator’s staffers not be bothered to check? NOAA data reveals that the people of Massachusetts experienced many recent months with temperature below the 20th century average. March was below average three times in the last five years. That’s just March! That’s the government temperature data fiddled and adjusted with to make it seem as warm as possible! Three of the last five Januaries and Februaries were below average in Massachusetts and two of the last five Aprils were below average as well. The data goes on and on.
Senator Bill Cassidy said that, “in New Mexico we are already seeing more extreme and prolonged drought conditions, larger wildfires, increased flooding. This is the reality now, not at some far off date in the future, and the longer that we wait to act the more difficult and more expensive the solutions will be.” Can the Senator be unaware how little temperature has varied over the last century? It was certainly not enough to meaningfully alter drought, fires and floods - all of which are historically normal according to the data.
Likewise Senator Gary Peters of Michigan intoned that we have experienced “dramatic changes in weather.” He is apparently unaware that today’s weather is historically normal. Claims that today’s weather has become more extreme are propaganda talking points unsupported by science or history. Take a look at the report debunking the extreme weather scare that CFACT’s Marc Morano prepared for the UN climate summit in Doha, Qatar.
Climate models consistently project a warmer world than real-world measurements record. These Senators are either unaware of this fact, or want the rest of us to be. How’s that for denial?
The sorry truth is that the radical Left chose “climate change” as its latest rationale for taking control of our energy supply and economy. Climate campaign organizations continually misrepresent and exaggerate the facts about the climate.
It is incumbent on those of us in touch with the facts to correct the record when we see it distorted and present what, in our opinions, are better-founded public-policy recommendations.
If Senator Whitehouse and company succeed in stifling the climate debate it will guarantee the inaccuracies and exaggerations of the climate campaign will go unchallenged. Useless and wasteful freedom and economy-crushing public policy will be the result.
That’s why our Founding Fathers wrote free speech into our Constitution. So nice try Senators. But we are not intimidated. We will not be silenced.
Over 30,000 scientists say ‘Catastrophic Man-Made Global Warming’ is a complete hoax and science lie
By Daniel Barker
NaturalNews) The highly-politicized climate change debate rages on as we approach the crucial 2016 U.S. presidential election, despite an ever-growing body of evidence revealing the fact that “catastrophic man-made global warming” is nothing more than an elaborate hoax.
And the November election may prove to be a victory for the hoaxers, according to experts who happen to be among those who dare to challenge the spurious climate change narrative.
One of these experts is Weather Channel founder John Coleman, who is now warning that the election could prove to be a “tipping point” in favor of people like Al Gore, who continue to amass vast fortunes based on the global warming scam.
In a recent interview with Climate Depot, Coleman said:
“Al Gore may emerge from the shadows to declare victory in the ‘global warming’ debate if Hillary Clinton moves into the White House. Yes, if that happens and the new climate regulations become the law of the land, they will be next to impossible to overturn for four to eight years.”
Climate change proponents remain undeterred in their mission, ignoring numerous recent scientific findings indicating that there has been no warming trend at all for nearly two decades.
Al Gore’s dire predictions of the melting of polar ice on a massive scale have proved to be completely false. In fact, in 2014 - a year that was touted as being “the hottest ever” in the Earth’s history - there were record amounts of ice reported in Antarctica, an increase in Arctic ice, and record snowfalls across the globe.
Debunking the “97 percent” lie
On top of those “inconvenient truths,” the White House’s assertion that 97 percent of scientists agree that global warming is real has been completely debunked. Several independently-researched examinations of the literature used to support the “97 percent” statement found that the conclusions were cherry-picked and misleading.
More objective surveys have revealed that there is a far greater diversity of opinion among scientists than the global warming crowd would like for you to believe.
From the National Review:
“A 2008 survey by two German scientists, Dennis Bray and Hans von Storch, found that a significant number of scientists were skeptical of the ability of existing global climate models to accurately predict global temperatures, precipitation, sea-level changes, or extreme weather events even over a decade; they were far more skeptical as the time horizon increased.”
Other mainstream news sources besides the National Review have also been courageous enough to speak out against the global warming propaganda - even the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed piece in 2015 challenging the Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) pseudoscience being promulgated by global warming proponents.
And, of course, there are the more than 31,000 American scientists (to date) who have signed a petition challenging the climate change narrative and 9,029 of them hold PhDs in their respective fields. But hey, Al Gore and his cronies have also ignored that inconvenient truth, as well.
Many of those scientists who signed the petition were likely encouraged to speak out in favor of the truth after retired senior NASA atmospheric scientist John L. Casey revealed that solar cycles are largely responsible for warming periods on Earth - not human activity.
Al Gore and cronies continue getting richer from the global warming hoax
But the global warming crowd continues to push their agenda on the public while lining their pockets in the process. If you’re still inclined to believe what Al Gore has to say about global warming, please consider the fact that since he embarked on his crusade, his wealth has grown from $2 million in 2001 to $100 million in 2016 - largely due to investments in fake “green tech” companies and the effective embezzlement of numerous grants and loans.
You might want to take all of this information into serious consideration before casting your vote in the November election.
By Anthony J. Sadar
This coming Sunday, India is to ratify the 2015 Paris climate accord. Earlier this month, in Hangzhou, China, President Obama accepted on behalf of all Americans--without the official approval of the people’s duly elected representatives in Congress--the international climate agreement aimed at greatly reducing “greenhouse gas” emissions. The airy decree is more likely to greatly reduce American sovereignty and economic growth.
Poll after poll shows that potentially dangerous climate change is not high on the list of concerns by U.S. citizens. Instead, people fear lack of good jobs and recurring terrorist attacks.
The president, on the other hand, apparently fears not having yet another lasting legacy of his choosing, as if being president is about personal legacies rather than simply doing right by the electorate and let that be your legacy.
World powers like India, China, and Russia see the tremendous benefit in a climate agreement. Such agreement would further help hobble American influence on the world stage by misdirecting our efforts to ethereal problems rather than real-world challenges like international trade imbalance. While we chase dubious “carbon pollution” at home, polluting factories overseas can work overtime for their governments to amass their own global wealth and dominance.
What is needed is a refocusing and redoubling of efforts to strengthen America’s commitment for good in the world. But, that’s hard to do when so many of the decisions of the current administration look to be based on leftist elitist arrogance. Such arrogance seems to permeate so much of society--in academia, entertainment, media, and certainly politics.
And, a high level of condescension has overtaken, to a large extent, climate science.
The dominance of science from an ideological/political perch, whether from the right or from the left, is wrong. Such control emboldens strong intimidation and suppression of reasonable exploration of the real state of the planet.
A scientist must be free to explore any hypothesis or doubt. Great discoveries and theories are made by those who think outside the box--less so by those trapped inside. Furthermore, the truth is not the winner of a popularity contest or consensus-view pageant; nor is science so fragile that it cannot withstand sharp criticism, vigorous debate, and fiercely independent research.
Good scientists practice humility, understanding that arrogance leads to errors. They know that the purpose of science is to discover facts--not invent them.
Long-range, catastrophic climate change from increased “carbon pollution” is not a fact, it’s a prediction based on a hypothesis. The prediction is a convenient one that is far enough out (the permanent sweltering of mid-latitude cities by mid-century, for example), that the hyping and embellishing of outrageous prognostications can only be endured not refuted.
In the meantime, lots of research grants and global power are to be reaped. And academic climate researchers and politicians worldwide are harvesting the ripened crop. As the saying goes, “Make hay while the sun is shining.”
And as the sun shines, the world governments are certainly making hay of the profitable business of cataclysmic global warming.
Anthony J. Sadar is a Certified Consulting Meteorologist and author of In Global Warming We Trust: Too Big to Fail (Stairway Press, 2016).
Rising temperatures are causing Australian Central Bearded Dragons that are genetically male to hatch as females and give birth to other lizards
CENTRAL BEARDED DRAGONS
The cold-blooded Australian Central Bearded Dragon is widespread on red sandy areas in the semi-arid regions of eastern Australia. It occupies open woodland and is conspicuous when it perches high to warm in the early morning sunlight.
“This is the first time we have proved that sex reversal happens in the wild in any reptile at all,” said Clare Holleley of the University of Canberra, lead author of the study in the journal Nature Wednesday. The study, she said, ‘is showing that climate extremes can very rapidly fundamentally alter the biology of an organism.’ To understand what’s happening, it helps to a have a quick lesson in the birds and the bees - and the bearded dragons and other reptiles. Some reptiles, like alligators and some turtles, have their genders determined not by sex chromosomes, like humans and other mammals, but by temperature during incubation.
Until now, bearded dragons had their gender based on chromosomes. Like birds, their sex chromosomes are Z and W instead of X and Y. Males are ZZ. Females are ZW. In humans, everyone has an X and the presence of Y makes a person genetically male. In bearded dragons, everyone has a Z and the presence of a W makes them a genetic female.
In the past, scientists have shown in the lab that hot temperatures can switch that natural chromosome-based gender. Holleley and colleagues examined the genetic sex markers of 131 wild-caught bearded dragons in Queensland province and found that 11 of them were female outwardly - even having offspring - but had the ZZ chromosomes of a genetic male. Their sex determination was ‘switched into overdrive,’ Holleley said. Holleley concedes 11 dragons is a small sample size, so she and colleagues will continue and expand their research.
The genetic-male-into-female dragons not only laid eggs, but in a way were better mothers than genetically determined females, laying more eggs, said study co-author Arthur Georges, chief scientist for the Institute for Applied Ecology at the University of Canberra. Until now, bearded dragons had their gender based on chromosomes. Until now, bearded dragons had their gender based on chromosomes.
The team also found that the offspring of these dragons no longer have their gender determined by chromosomes, but by temperature. “They’re throwing away the equivalent of the Y, which we call the W, chromosome,’ Georges said. ‘If the climate warms not much more at all, the percentage of sex reversal will increase and the W chromosome will be lost from the population.’ This is happening in an area that is one of the fastest warming places in Australia over the past 40 years, Holleley said.
Lab tests show that the switch from genetic sex determination to temperature sex determination seems to start at about 90 degrees Fahrenheit (32 degrees Celsius) and occurs 100 percent of the time at about 97 degrees (36 degrees Celsius), Holleley said. Outside scientist Frederic Janzen at Iowa State University praised the work as thorough and convincing. He said in an email that the study can help ‘to better understand these remarkable animals in a rapidly changing world.’
Holleley said the heat could be transformative for more than these lizards: ‘It certainly can happen to other species, but it’s not going to happen to humans, more than likely.’
By Jazz Shaw
The jokes pretty much write themselves since there doesn’t seem to be any imminent danger to life and limb. The ship named Polar Ocean Challenge is in the process of demonstrating the real world effects of global warming by navigating the northeast and northwest passages above Canada, Europe and Asia. It’s a big project to undertake, particularly when you consider the lengthy history of human exploration which once sought that mythical northwest passage from Europe to India. (Sadly, quite a few people died in the attempt.)
But now that global warming has cleared the path, the dream can finally be realized. Except for one small problem...the sea ice is still there and it stopped them in their tracks. (Daily Caller)
A group of adventurers, sailors, pilots and climate scientists that recently started a journey around the North Pole in an effort to show the lack of ice, has been blocked from further travels by ice.
The Polar Ocean Challenge is taking a two month journey that will see them go from Bristol, Alaska, to Norway, then to Russia through the North East passage, back to Alaska through the North West passage, to Greenland and then ultimately back to Bristol. Their objective, as laid out by their website, was to demonstrate “that the Arctic sea ice coverage shrinks back so far now in the summer months that sea that was permanently locked up now can allow passage through.”
There has been one small hiccup thus-far though: they are currently stuck in Murmansk, Russia because there is too much ice blocking the North East passage the team said didn’t exist in summer months, according to Real Climate Science.
Curiously enough, this isn’t the first time this has happened. The Polar Ocean Challenge was trying it in the Arctic because this is when it’s summer in the northern hemisphere. But back in January of 2014, 52 people had to be rescued from a ship stuck in the Antarctic ice on the other end of the globe. You have to scroll all the way to the bottom of that CNN article to discover that Chris Turney, the expedition leader, is also a climate scientist. On his personal website, however, the professor apparently went into more detail. CNN simply summed it up by saying, “Turney’s expedition to gauge the effects of climate change on the region began on November 27.”
That’s not to say that there isn’t less ice now than there was in the 15th and 16th centuries when we were originally poking around. There’s definitely less, at least during some years. Then again, there were also times when there wasn’t a bit of ice on the entire planet. (Likely a result of that secret fracking program the dinosaurs were running which we just haven’t unearthed yet.) We’ve also had at least one and possibly three periods which scientists refer to as “snowball Earth” when the entire planet froze over and life hung on by a thread in the cracks between the ice.
So be of good cheer, sailors. If you wait around long enough you’ll be able to make that trip sooner or later.
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, 8 July 2016 (GWPF translation)
The “Climate Protection Plan 2050” is supposed to make Germany’s economy more environmentally friendly. But it is stirring resistance among Christian Democratic leaders who fear the plan endangers Germany’s prosperity and social peace.
There is great discontent among the parliamentary Christian Democratic Party (CDU) about the “Climate Protection Plan 2050” presented by Federal Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks (SPD). With her draft, which is currently under review at the Federal Chancellery and which should be decided in the autumn by the Cabinet, Hendricks is essentially “proscribing a command economy.” According to a report by Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, the accusation is being made by four deputy parliamentary leaders of the CDU and CSU in a letter to Chancellery minister Peter Altmaier (CDU).
In their letter, the leaders call for early discussions about the basic thrust of the climate plan before the government takes any decisions. The CDU politicians Georg Nublein (CSU), Gitta Connemann (CDU), Michael Fuchs (CDU) and Arnold Vaatz (CDU) claim that the plan is “basically wrong”, that it would have “a massive impact on the future competitiveness of the business location Germany” and was likely to “jeopardize the economy, prosperity and social peace in our country.”
The Chancellery is currently examining Hendricks’ plan before it goes to further consultation in other ministries. The Cabinet is expected to decide the “plan” in the autumn. It is supposed to be a kind of road map for German climate policy in the coming decades and will be updated regularly.
According to the plan, Germany will essentially be completely decarbonized. It includes the progressive withdrew from coal, the full conversion of the transport system to electrical cars by 2030, the ban of central gas and oil heating systems for new buildings, the promotion of cycling and organic farming, the reducing of meat consumption by at least half by 2050 and a rise in taxes that take into consideration environmental issues.
Germany’s Energiewende Sticks It to the Poor
The American Interest, 7 July 2016 (http://www.the-american-interest.com/2016/07/07/germanys-energiewende-sticks-it-to-the-poor/)
Germany’s much-ballyhooed green energy transition - its energiewende - has run up quite a tab, and policymakers are having trouble figuring out who is actually going to pay for the policies. In an attempt to kick-start fledgling renewable energy sources like wind and solar power, Berlin guaranteed producers locked-in, long-term, above-market rates called feed-in tariffs. To their credit, this plan of pushing technologies of dubious merit at any cost worked, perhaps too well: the costs of these subsidies have been passed right along to German consumers in the form of a green surcharge on their power bills, resulting in some of Europe’s most expensive electricity.
But out of concern for its economic competitiveness on the continent, Germany has offered generous exemptions to its most energy-intensive industries, and plans to continue doing so for the foreseeable future. Bloomberg reports:
...Germany has sought to preserve its companies’ competitiveness in a European context, [said the deputy head of the Christian Democrats Michael Fuchs)...The move would retain the privileges of some 2,154 companies with heavy power bills. [...]
Last year, [green surcharges] added about 23 billion euros ($25.5 billion) to power bills, making electricity in Germany the second-most expensive in the 28 EU nations after Denmark. The fee translates to 6.54 euro cents a kilowatt-hour. The surcharge may rise to 7.3 to 7.5 euro cents by the end of the decade, said Fuchs. Some forecasters predict a leap to 10 euro cents per kilowatt-hour, he said.
The privileges benefit companies from glass makers, to pig slaughterers, cement makers and steel makers. The main criterion for joining the group - and paying a fifth of the standard fee - is a power bill that adds up to a minimum 14 percent of company costs.
Germany is right to be worried about the negative effect expensive power is having on its heavy industry. It’s not a hard sell for companies to move to outsource production (and all the jobs that go with it) outside of Germany if the price of business-as-usual is too high. But exempting these big companies doesn’t do anything to address the deeper problem, namely that this eco-mania carries with it some tremendous costs that must be borne somewhere. And if industry isn’t going to shell out, that leaves smaller companies and - you guessed it - German households that are left footing that bill.
Expensive power can be thought of as a pernicious sort of regressive tax, felt most keenly by society’s poorest. Wealthier Germans might not have noticed the 6.54 euro cents a kilowatt-hour surcharge on their recent bills, but for families whose power bills make up a larger portion of their monthly budgets, these price hikes cut deep.
Berlin is slowly waking up to the fact that its energiewende has produced something of a mess. Last month German policymakers agreed on a framework deal to slow down the deployment of renewables, and according to Reuters a new revision of an energy law plans to limit offshore wind development to try and cut costs and improve grid stability. But these are half measures, and while lawmakers tinker with the energiewende on its fringes, Germany’s poorest are suffering from some of Europe’s most expensive power bills while the country’s biggest energy consumers secure exemptions. That’s some policy you’ve got there, Merkel.
Naomi Klein, GNU Free Documentation License, photographer Mariusz Kubik
Naomi Klein on the racism that underlies climate change inaction
For the past three decades, since the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change was created and climate negotiations began, the refusal of our governments to lower emissions has been accompanied with full awareness of the dangers. And this kind of recklessness would have been functionally impossible without institutional racism, even if only latent. It would have been impossible without orientalism - what Edward Said described in his landmark book of the same name as “disregarding, essentialising, denuding the humanity of another culture, people or geographical region”. It would have been impossible without all the potent tools on offer that allow the powerful to discount the lives of the less powerful. These tools - of ranking the relative value of humans - are what allow the writing off of entire nations and ancient cultures. And they are what allowed for the digging up of all that carbon to begin with.
Why? Because the thing about fossil fuels is that they are so inherently dirty and toxic that they require sacrificial people and places: people whose lungs and bodies can be sacrificed to work in the coal mines, people whose lands and water can be sacrificed to open-pit mining and oil spills. As recently as the 1970s, scientists advising the United States government openly referred to certain parts of the country being designated “national sacrifice areas”. Think of the mountains of Appalachia, blasted off for coal mining - because so-called “mountain-top removal” coal mining is cheaper than digging holes underground. There were theories of othering used to justify the sacrificing of an entire geography: after all, if you are a backwards “hillbilly”, who cares about your hills?
Turning all that coal into electricity required another layer of othering, too: this time for the urban neighborhoods next door to the power plants and refineries. In North America, these are overwhelmingly communities of color, black and Latino, forced to carry the toxic burden of our collective addiction to fossil fuels, with markedly higher rates of respiratory illnesses and cancers. It was in fights against this kind of “environmental racism” that the climate justice movement was born.
Why do I think Naomi’s opinion piece reeks of colonialist paternalism? The reason is she seems to think she has the right to make decisions on behalf of poor people, especially poor colored people. In my opinion, if Naomi could, she would somehow shield the disadvantaged from the “burden” of participating in the supply chain of our modern industrial world. She would remove the option of such participation from the people she claims to care about.
But the consequences of such a restriction would be disastrous. Naomi is right that industrialization is a messy, often ugly process, riddled with exploitation and inequity. But the one thing which is worse than industrializing your economy, is not industrializing your economy. Attempting to deny desperately poor people the opportunity to build a better life, by embracing the same modern economic conveniences we take for granted, in my opinion is an unspeakable crime against humanity. People who work in filthy, third world factories, breathing toxic fumes, enduring unsafe conditions and hideous hours, mostly volunteer for such life, they compete to be accepted for such jobs. Because the alternative, back breaking hand tilling of subsistence farms, at the mercy of weather and disease, is far worse.
Nobody has the right to tell poor people what to do, not even Naomi Klein. If poor people choose of their own free will to participate in the modern world, and in doing so choose to build a better life for their children, they are simply following the path to modernity which our own grandparents and great grandparents walked, whose efforts and sacrifices created the abundance and security which we in the industrialized West take for granted.