Recent letters and Oregon Legislators have advocated carbon taxes to prevent climate change/global warming. I suggest they have it exactly wrong.
We should be proud of and praise the energy revolution of coal, oil, gas, nuclear, and hydro power which, uniting science and agriculture, and combined with extractive industries, have raised the United States and billions in the world from poverty and starvation into wealth and liberty. Instead of reducing energy use, we should expand and encourage more use — wiser and cleaner, but more, not less. There should be classes in schools and universities teaching what good energy has done for the world. We are not getting our money’s worth.
Global warming, if it is occurring (I just noticed the glaciers are gone from my birth state of Pennsylvania), is an opportunity, not a catastrophe (sea level rise is miniscule; polar bears are doing just fine, thank you). More carbon dioxide means more plant life, which benefits humans. Both carbon dioxide and we — carbon-based life forms — are good, not evil.
One of the great American achievements was the establishment of the agricultural colleges by Lincoln, committing science to agriculture in every state. It is our farmers who have brought us food and wealth, from the days of tobacco and cotton to today’s corn, wheat, sorghum, dairy and cattle, and the nursery groups which sustain the Willamette Valley.
Civilizations are built on crops: rice, corn, wheat. In the 1960s, prophets of doom, who still abound with their false predictions (their track records should have led them to resign in shame), predicted a Malthusian end of civilization through lack of food, and energy sources.
Science and agriculture, the Green Revolution, proved them wrong. Ironically, their predictions did show what would happen without energy and its products.
Today's “Green Revolution” advocated by Socialists and Democrats is the "Watermelon Revolution" (green on the outside; red on the inside.” It pretends to be environmental, but has the same goals the communist/socialist movements have always had.
Too many Americans, persuaded (not by evidence and logic but assumed consensus and bullying) foolishly by Hollywood, the media and academics, have no understanding of the foundations of wealth. They take for granted the great achievements in economics, political science, science, medicine, engineering and agriculture which have made America the envy of the world. If their ideas had their way, the lights would go out, the supermarket shelves would empty, and we would be the former USSR, North Korea or Venezuela.
A picture of a street in Venezuela showed worthless money scattered along the gutter, reminiscent of Vienna after the Crash. From “Not worth a Continental” and we “don’t give a damn about a Greenback Dollar,” we have gone to the Federal Reserve and infinite debt by endless printing of money, disconnected from real wealth.
Utopian economics gives us poverty. Wealth is precarious, in a world dominated by the ideas of Hobbes and Malthus. Humanity rises to civilization only with energy and agriculture, and falls when these, and those who use them wisely, are no longer honored as the sources of wealth.
In today’s America, farmers, ranchers, and the producers of real wealth are under constant attack. In their time, Bonneville and the TVA were great accomplishments, which turned on the lights of America. Now we are mal-educated and bullied to reject the very things that made us great, and make our life possible. We want McDonalds without ranchers, Safeway without farms, and BLTs without farmers and ranchers.
We want electricity without dams, power plants, pipelines and transmission lines. We want to drive cars without steel and oil, and pipelines and power lines that make them possible, along with ships, trucks, and trains. NIMBYs want to run the world, except they want to enjoy all the benefits of the world they despise, while killing the Golden Goose.
That lesson came from Aesop, over 2000 years ago, but they have still not learned it.
Alan L. Gallagher