Neither side have covered themselves with glory in the Climate Change debate, and we’re all poorer because of it.
With the publication of the latest IPCC report into climate change, attention has naturally refocussed onto climate change, its causes and what, if anything, we can do about it. Passions run high amongst both those who support the theory that human activity is responsible for climate change and those who remain sceptical, but in reality this is irrelevant. The world’s climate has been changing for billions of years, so regardless of what small impact human activity over the last few decades may have had, it is inevitable that the climate changes constantly and will continue to do so regardless of how many wind farms, coal power stations or hippy guitar jams we have.
Many people believe that we should be prepared to accept sacrifices in our standard of living in order to try and somehow control the change in the planet’s climate, but this is ridiculous. To suggest that we, mere animals, can somehow prevent the world’s climate from changing is the stuff of science fiction. Many of these same people use the threat of climate change to try and push through a statist, socialist agenda where consumers are taxed, energy is rationed and everything is controlled by the Government. There’s a reason why James Delingpole refers to these people as “Watemelons” – they may be green on the outside but on the inside they are red.
On the other hand, there are people, often (but far from exclusively) from the Bible-belt of the United States, who deny that the climate is changing. Again, these people are deluding themselves. Of course the climate is changing. It has been changing for aeons. A cursory glance at a history book would be enough to tell them that, however given that a good proportion of these people also believe that creationism should be taught in science lessons I think we can safely assume that history isn’t their strongest subject!
For me, climate change is an opportunity. Our climate will continue to change regardless of what we do, so rather than worrying about trying to stop it we should be working to adapt to it. Some would argue that we are already doing this with renewable energy and electric cars, but that isn’t the case. Currently renewable energy sources such as wind power are so inefficient and costly that they require heavy Government subsidies to even get built. They produce nothing like the amount of energy that is needed and require conventional power stations as a backup for when the wind isn’t blowing. The same is true of electric cars. They require huge Government subsidies and even then cost is astronomical. Worse, they suffer from limited range and can only travel a few miles before need to be recharged for 12 hours or more. The BBC recently did a study on whether it was possible to drive an electric Mini from London to Edinburgh and found that it would take more than four days. Four days to travel four hundred miles is longer than at any point since the invention of the railway. That isn’t progress, it’s State-subsidised stagnation espoused solemnly by the Watermelons who claim that we have no other options.
What we need to be doing is focussing our efforts on researching technologies that will allow us to adapt to a changing climate and live more efficiently without sacrificing our standard of living. These technologies already exist, but are ignored by an environmentalist movement that is more interested in creating some kind of agrarian socialist hell than in actual human development. Nuclear power can provide clean, safe energy for years to come, and with fracking we can create the next generation of gas power stations, removing our dependency on imported coal and gas. Looking further into the future, the development of fusion power has the potential to provide almost limitless clean power. Hydrogen fuel cells for cars have already been developed and allow for cars to be built that are just as efficient as the hydrocarbon-burning machines of today but that produce nothing but water vapour as a by-product. These are the true technologies of tomorrow and if properly developed could be introduced without the massive subsidies that are required for wind turbines and electric cars. Rather than snubbing them in favour of costly, inefficient “renewables”, we should be embracing them and taking the opportunity to continue humanity’s development throughout the 21st century and beyond.
Born in Yeovil, Bob Foster moved to the West Midlands, and following a brief spell in Dublin after university now lives in the North West. When pushed he describes himself as socially liberal, fiscally conservative, pro-military and anti-Government. His passions are American history, military history and defence policy, and when he doesn’t have his nose in a book on air power or a political memoir he can be found building model aircraft and warships. He works in the defence industry, but speaks for himself. He tweets as @Bobski1984
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