The Steyer Next Gen Climate campaign is built on a misleading foundation that uses climate change to mask an extreme environmental objective that is its anti-fossil fuel agenda. Candidates can expose this with a few indisputable facts and that could produce a backlash against NextGen and its leadership.
In the 1960s, the late historian Daniel Borstin wrote The Image: A Guide to Pseudo Events in America. He went to great lengths to document how as a society we were allowing ourselves to be misled, influenced, and deceived by images masquerading as facts. He commented even back then that we had reached the point where reality was being tested against the image instead of the image being tested against reality. Confronting the NextGen campaign can reverse that—test the image with facts.
The NextGen Climate agenda is built on the image that climate change, which it always has, is being seriously influenced by human activities such as heating and cooling our homes, driving, and being a mobile and prosperous society. Fossil fuels combined with human ingenuity and technology has improved every aspect of our lives since the dawn of the industrial Revolution. Alex Epstein in his recent book, The Moral Case for Fossil Fuels documents why this is the case.
Since the EIA and IEA consistently forecast that fossil fuels will remain the world’s dominant energy sources for decades to come, the NextGen crowd needs to explain how they will be replaced by abundant, affordable, and energy dense alternatives that would be necessary for the world to continue to prosper.
In spite of heavy subsidies wind, solar, and biofuels are not poised to replace coal, oil, and natural gas. And, without abundant and affordable energy economic growth cannot achieve the levels needed to support a growing society and improve our quality of life.
The nextGen crowd drives cars, flies on airplanes, wear clothes and use smart devices made in Asia and transported by air and truck for them to purchase. How will these benefits continue to be enjoyed in a world of forced scarcity? Tom Steyer and many of his allies are wealthy enough to pay much higher prices but what about the rest of society, especially the poor and those on fixed incomes?
In the world today, there are over 1 billion people who live in the worst forms of poverty imaginable because they have no access to affordable commercial energy. They have high disease and mortality rates, no access to potable water, and no hope for a better life without access to affordable energy. The NextGen agenda would condemn them to further hopelessness. Who will bear the guilt for that?
The NextGen sloganeering about alternative energy sources and a bright tomorrow is belied by the EU nations that have pursued the extreme agenda championed by Germany and other EU nations. Germany has electricity prices that are almost three times higher than the US average, it has much higher real unemployment, and has experienced a flight of capital. Spain’s economy collapsed under the weight of it reckless pursuit of its green agenda and the EU as a whole has yet to recover from the great recession.
The climate establishment and Steyer would have us believe that continuing our current life style will lead to catastrophic climate change. Of course, they will claim that it is CO2, not fossil fuels, that is the problem but that is just as bogus as their other arguments.
You don’t have to be a scientist to look at facts, not images, that prove the falsity of those claims. In geologic history, CO2 levels have been higher and the earth flourished. Today satellite photos show a greening of the planet because of higher levels of CO2, which is a nutrient, not a pollutant. NextGen will claim that it becomes a pollutant at higher levels but the US Navy allows CO2 levels in submarines to exceed 2000 parts per million.
US temperatures since the end of the Little Ice Age have followed a pattern of warming, then cooling, and then warming independent of fossil fuel use. Today’s temperatures were as high in the 1930s. Since 1998, 18 years, there has been no significant warming even though CO2 levels are about 25% higher. The climate establishment has come up with something like 52 explanations for the pause but none of them have survived close scrutiny. Forecasts of significant temperature increases by the IPCC keep getting reduced with each of its five year assessment reports. Claims of an increase in extreme weather events like hurricanes, tornadoes, and drought are shown by government data to be false. The prophecies of doom are like the horizon, they always recede as we approach them.
Candidates in 2016 simply have to arm themselves with a few irrefutable facts and go on offense. Elections like wars are won by offense and lost by retreat.
This article appeared on the National Journal’s Energy Insiders blog at http://www.nationaljournal.com/policy/insiders/energy/will-tom-steyer-s-2016-strategy-work-20150407