Climate change is a real issue. Perhaps some alarmists exaggerate the immediate danger, but there is no doubt that the earth is warming. The glaciers are disappearing, and forest fires are becoming an increasing problem in the American west and in Europe. There are contradictory reports on polar ice, but if we experience significant shrinkage of the ice caps coastal areas will be hard hit. Many climate scientists are predicting long-term disastrous consequences unless remedial action takes place.
The question is, what can we do about it?
Donald Trump and many of his followers tended to downplay climate change. I believe Trump is intelligent enough to recognize the problem; but his emphasis was on the Make America Great Again program, part of which was to expand out fossil fuel production and make us energy independent. Trump realized that China, our great economic competitor, would not allow itself to be bound by climate accords; and so long as China, India and Russia refuse to join us and western Europe in adopting the same severe limits on carbon emissions, our own efforts will be futile.
As for Biden’s policies in this area, they make absolutely no sense. He attacks the American fossil industry with a vengeance, but the only real effect has been to double the price of oil and make us more dependent on foreign sources. Is Russian oil or Arabian oil less harmful to the environment than our own? We have much more stringent controls on energy producers than those countries. Meanwhile, as we take our coal burning power plants off-line, the Chinese are building their own at an ever-increasing rate. Is Chinese coal carbon free?
The issue should be beyond politics.
In a recent conversation with my son Stuart, he and I agreed on the following points:
o – Climate change is a fact, and the problem cannot be ignored.
o – Addressing the problem will require a worldwide cooperative effort.
o – China makes promises, but its actions indicate an unwillingness to cooperate.
o – Until worldwide climate control protocols are developed and enforced, efforts by individual nations will be ineffective.
o – In the meantime, the United States must pursue all available means (including exploitation of fossil fuels) to achieve energy independence for itself and its allies.
o – Once energy independence has been obtained, the United States and its partners can pressure China and other non-compliant states with trade embargos and other actions to force them to abide by climate protocols.
Perhaps climate change is irreversible over the short term, but we owe it to our posterity to at least try to reverse it or mitigate its effects. As we do this, we must recognize that the imposition of climate controls may cause significant disruptions to our economy, and we must gird ourselves for a long and difficult struggle.