Monday, April 07, 2003
Warm Beer, and Snow for the Northeast Today: The thing is, if much of the world has already industrialized, and no significant climate change has directly resulted (which appears to be the case), we're close to being over the hump. There will be a spike in greenhouse gases again as the third world industrializes, but they will do so with the benefit of better, cleaner technology. In the long-industrialized west, air and water have been getting progressively cleaner as we burn cleaner fuel, explore alternative energy, and reap the benefits of efficient technology. This trend will only continue. I'm all for alternative fuels, for reasons I mentioned before, but with hybrid engines soon to be the standard (I hope) and better traditional internal-combustion engines always available, I think we're on the downside of the pollution curve. Plus, population growth is tailing off worldwide, so the famous population "bomb" hasn't happened. (In fact, some areas of the world are on the cusp of population shrinkage, such as China and Western Europe.) I just can't get worked up about climate change. Better that we get off foreign oil for the reasons threatening us right now, and sort out any potential but unlikely environmental issues if they come up. The idea of putting our economy on an oil-diet based on fuzzy predictions that have never even come close to matching the actual data seems alarmist and destructive. In the most radical quarters, it's simply a stalking horse for true-believer neo-ludditism.