Some folks in the climate change skeptic community have been having a lot of fun with an AP story that reported on a United National study that concluded that if the world did not get a handle on climate change in about 10 years, the effects would cause world-wide calamity. Rising sea levels, failing crops, and hordes of “eco-refugees” will devastate the planet. The story was released in 1989, a fact that is causing a healthy skepticism concerning the pronouncements of global warming alarmists.
The release of the so-called “Green New Deal” by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her associates has proven to be another spur to climate change skepticism. The plan would, by all accounts, ban private automobiles, air travel, beef, and fossil fuels within ten years. If anything, that cure seems to be worse than the disease.
It is the sort of scheme that seems to have been devised in a college dorm after the bong pipe has been passed around too many times. Yet many of the Democratic presidential candidate have embraced the Green New Deal as the sure-fire formula to winning the nomination next year and then toppling President Trump.
Those people who are not in a panic over climate change would be tempted to sit back and let the Democratic Party destroy itself over the issue. The Green New Deal is, at best, a scheme by power-hungry politicians and at worst the ravings of lunatics.
The Senate rejected the plan overwhelmingly, with Democrats senators so embarrassed at actually having to vote for the measure but unwilling to anger its supporters that they voted present. Now, even AOC is blaming the initial fact sheet, the one that indicated that everything from hamburgers to airplanes would be banned by the Green New Deal, on an unnamed staffer, the lamest of political excuses.
Let us suppose for the sake of argument that climate change is a problem that needs to be addressed. What would be a more serious, science-oriented response to the threat of human-caused climate change? If we assume that CO2 emissions are a problem but not on the scale and immediacy that the purveyors of the Green New Deal claim, several sensible solutions can help to ameliorate climate change without plunging the world into a new Dark Age.
Nuclear power, still the bugaboo of many environmentalists, is surely part of the solution to climate change. Modern nuclear plants are far safer than the one at Three Mile Island and, of course, do not emit carbon dioxide.
Carbon capture is another promising technology. Adding carbon capture features to existing power plants may prove to be prohibitively expensive. However, as Ars Technica reported a couple of years ago, power plants can be built with carbon capture as a feature from the beginning.
NET Power has been testing a zero-emission natural gas power plant near La Porte, Texas that could be the future of fossil fuels. As a bonus the carbon can be used to create useful products such as carbon nanotubes.
Better electric cars with a longer range and quicker battery recharging would be a given. With more electricity being generated by carbon-free power plants, such vehicles would become “greener.”
Banning air travel as the Green New Deal mandates was one of that plan’s sillier ideas. High speed trains, as California found out to its sorrow, are too expensive and are yesterday’s technology. But, perhaps, Elon Musk’s hyper-loop might be an idea to try for long distance travel, supplementing air travel.
Planting more trees would be another part of the solution to climate change. Forests are an excellent consumer of carbon dioxide. As a bonus, trees represent a great, renewable resource.
Further in the future, technologies such as fusion and space-based solar power suggest themselves as way to power the world without ruining it. The current move by President Trump to return to the moon and access its resources would make these innovations more possible.
Climate change alarmists urge that we “listen to the scientists” where the threat of the phenomenon is concerned.
That is fair enough. But in return they need to listen to the engineers. A sensible response to climate change would be driven by private-sector solutions and not government mandates, would not create so high a burden that people will reject them, and will be based on sound science and engineering. Thus, the response to climate change will create a more prosperous, abundant future, not a world-wide Venezuela.