Wednesday, November 18, 2009

What They Really Believe

By Thomas L. Friedman

If you follow the debate around the energy/climate bills working through Congress you will notice that the drill-baby-drill opponents of this legislation are now making two claims. One is that the globe has been cooling lately, not warming, and the other is that America simply can’t afford any kind of cap-and-trade/carbon tax.

But here is what they also surely believe, but are not saying: They believe the world is going to face a mass plague, like the Black Death, that will wipe out 2.5 billion people sometime between now and 2050. They believe it is much better for America that the world be dependent on oil for energy — a commodity largely controlled by countries that hate us and can only go up in price as demand increases — rather than on clean power technologies that are controlled by us and only go down in price as demand increases. And, finally, they believe that people in the developing world are very happy being poor — just give them a little running water and electricity and they’ll be fine. They’ll never want to live like us.

Yes, the opponents of any tax on carbon to stimulate alternatives to oil must believe all these things because that is the only way their arguments make any sense. Let me explain why by first explaining how I look at this issue.

I am a clean-energy hawk. Green for me is not just about recycling garbage but about renewing America. That is why I have been saying “green is the new red, white and blue.”

My argument is simple: I think climate change is real. You don’t? That’s your business. But there are two other huge trends barreling down on us with energy implications that you simply can’t deny. And the way to renew America is for us to take the lead and invent the technologies to address these problems.

The first is that the world is getting crowded. According to the 2006 U.N. population report, “The world population will likely increase by 2.5 billion ... passing from the current 6.7 billion to 9.2 billion in 2050. This increase is equivalent to the total size of the world population in 1950, and it will be absorbed mostly by the less developed regions, whose population is projected to rise from 5.4 billion in 2007 to 7.9 billion in 2050.”
The energy, climate, water and pollution implications of adding another 2.5 billion mouths to feed, clothe, house and transport will be staggering. And this is coming, unless, as the deniers apparently believe, a global pandemic or a mass outbreak of abstinence will freeze world population — forever.

Now, add one more thing. The world keeps getting flatter — more and more people can now see how we live, aspire to our lifestyle and even take our jobs so they can live how we live. So not only are we adding 2.5 billion people by 2050, but many more will live like “Americans” — with American-size homes, American-size cars, eating American-size Big Macs.

“What happens when developing nations with soaring vehicle populations get tens of millions of petroleum-powered cars at the same time as the global economy recovers and there’s no large global oil supply overhang?” asks Felix Kramer, the electric car expert who advocates electrifying the U.S. auto fleet and increasingly powering it with renewable energy sources. What happens, of course, is that the price of oil goes through the roof — unless we develop alternatives. The petro-dictators in Iran, Venezuela and Russia hope we don’t. They would only get richer.

So either the opponents of a serious energy/climate bill with a price on carbon don’t care about our being addicted to oil and dependent on petro-dictators forever or they really believe that we will not be adding 2.5 billion more people who want to live like us, so the price of oil won’t go up very far and, therefore, we shouldn’t raise taxes to stimulate clean, renewable alternatives and energy efficiency.

Green hawks believe otherwise. We believe that in a world getting warmer and more crowded with more “Americans,” the next great global industry is going to be E.T., or energy technology based on clean power and energy efficiency. It has to be. And we believe that the country that invents and deploys the most E.T. will enjoy the most economic security, energy security, national security, innovative companies and global respect. And we believe that country must be America. If not, our children will never enjoy the standard of living we did. And we believe the best way to launch E.T. is to set a fixed, long-term price on carbon — combine it with the Obama team’s impressive stimulus for green-tech — and then let the free market and innovation do the rest.

So, as I said, you don’t believe in global warming? You’re wrong, but I’ll let you enjoy it until your beach house gets washed away. But if you also don’t believe the world is getting more crowded with more aspiring Americans — and that ignoring that will play to the strength of our worst enemies, while responding to it with clean energy will play to the strength of our best technologies — then you’re willfully blind, and you’re hurting America’s future to boot.

5 Opinion(s):

Viking said...

good article.
We enlightened Westerners are the only ones keeping our population numbers under control, and are being punished for it.

Anonymous said...

mike said:

Perhaps Friedman is the new red. The fact of the matter is that the European peoples are in decline, not growth. The growth is in the third world, and like it or not, the west needs to stop artificially inflating the third world populations. When times are tough and no one can contribute, many will die of starvation. The third world must be allowed to regulate it's own population - period.

I agree that there may be an opportunity to lead regarding new technologies, but it appears more like a carrot to entice. Bottom line - if you can't afford to have six children, then don't have six children. The earth, or any environment for that matter, does regulate it's populations via illness, famine, etc., but the doo-gooder liberals are in reality nothing more than wolves in sheeps clothing. Their actions do far more harm than imaginable.

Anonymous said...

The argument is not whether global warming is happening or not, as this argument is merely a straw man.

Global warming is a fact.

The true argument is whether global warming is caused by carbon dioxide or not? Did you know that plants thrive in a carbon dioxide rich environment?

There are many forms of pollution and I find it strangely annoying that the elites would attach themselves to the ONE form of so-called pollution that is taxable.

I DO understand their reasons for doing so though. As part of their strategy they have to make themselves and their allies less dependant on other countries that they perceive as a threat. As these "enemy" countries control the carbon based fuel sources, they had to find a way to increase the price of the carbon based fuel sources in relation to alternative fuel sources.

The best way for them to do this is through taxation. Thus you end up with the carbon tax.

It is a strategic move people.

Explanation in baby steps.

Q: What do you do if your "enemy" controls the energy source that you need for survival? (oil etc.)
A: You have to become less dependant on these specific energy sources?

Q: How do you do this if these fuels are the favourite energy source because it is the least expensive?
A: You have to artificially increase the price of these energy sources.

Q: How do you do that?
A: Through taxation.

Q: HOW exactly do you implement a taxation on carbon based fuel sources??????
A: By using a straw man argument.

By using your controlled main stream mass media to propose that the by products of carbon based fossil fuels are the sole and most devastating reason for climate change.

Quite a co-incidence that the author of the article is Friedman and as a Jew he happens to belong to that group which is most desperate for the world to move away from the use of fossil fuels.


Anonymous said...

Q: If you for instance noticed that the temperature in your oven has increased, where is the obvious place to look?
A: The temperature setting, in this case the thermostat.

The most obvious place to look for reasons for climate change would be to look at the sun.

Fact is that the carbon dioxide increase is a symptom of temperature increase and not the other way around.

But alas, the truth is always twisted, especially if there is a political gain attached.

The sheeple will belief anything the media dishes up to them. the worst believers are sometimes the brain washed scientists, who are merely parroting what their learned master shoved down their throats and into their brains.

Think of all the lovely tax money to be generated, once the elites can get everyone to be charged according to their carbon footprint.

You'll have to breathe shallowly, as it will be less expensive.


Better invest your money now it portable carbon dioxide measurement devices, if you want to belong to the next billionaires club.


Anonymous said...

Look at the link above.
Mars is also undergoing climate change and strangely enough it is also a warming process.

The carbon tax strategy is brilliant.


1) You can create a global watchdog with powers to bend governments to it's will.
2) You can control global taxation, which means control.
3) You will also lessen your energy dependence on those you perceive as threats.

It is brilliant.

It will finally enable global governance and those fossil rich countries would become dirt poor again, where they belong.

You'd have the governments of rich countries paying huge penalties to the governments of poor countries.
What is hilarious is that the elites control all the reserve banks anyway, which means that they can print money at will and influence currencies on a global scale.

However this transfer of money is necessary to create egalitarianism.

The creation of the long awaited proletariat is at hand.

yawn or you can prefer to stay inside the box that is your mind.