Climate change alarmists are using increasingly strident rhetoric and confrontational tactics in an effort to accelerate an end to the fossil fuel industry. The climate change alarmists believe that the disruptive methods of “civil disobedience” they employ are necessary in order to call attention to what they claim is an imminent existential threat to humanity caused by continued dependence on fossil fuels. These activists accuse the fossil fuel industry of profiting from the suffering of everyday people caused by fossil fuel emissions that are said to be wreaking havoc with the global climate. And they accuse government officials of complicity by not doing enough to force a very rapid transition to total reliance on renewable sources of clean energy, whatever the resulting huge costs and disastrous economic fallout turn out to be.
The doomsday prophesies are sounding more and more like a broken record. Take former Vice President Al Gore’s pronouncements, for example. In 2008, before teaming up with former President Barack Obama, Gore predicted an ice-free Arctic by 2013, which he pushed out a year further in his updated 2009 prophecy. President Biden’s climate czar John Kerry made a similarly dire prediction back in 2009, citing the projections of “scientists.” Gore and Kerry were way off the mark as usual.
According to data compiled by the National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC), as of mid-July 2022 there is still plenty of sea ice in the Arctic – extending 3.25 million square miles. “The decline rate of the extent through the first half of July was near the 1981 to 2010 average,” NSIDC reported, adding that the sea ice extent on July 17th was the highest since 2015.
Jim Hansen, the scientist who in 1988 predicted the greenhouse effect in testimony before Congress, was quoted as saying back then to a reporter that the West Side Highway in New York City “will be under water” in twenty years. I live in Manhattan and can attest to the fact that the West Side Highway is still very much above water and in use in 2022.
Al Gore, John Kerry and other like-minded Chicken Littles have not given up. They are still delivering doomsday predictions. Kerry, for example, said in February 2021 that we have only nine more years to avoid the worst consequences of climate change. Kerry’s countdown clock continues to run, but we can expect more years to be added to the clock as we get closer to 2030 and once again his doomsday prediction turns out to be false.
Al Gore has reemerged with his customary hyperbole. He despicably compared the “inaction” of those whom he insulted as “climate deniers” with the inaction of the Uvalde, Texas police who stood aside while the school shooting massacre in that city was continuing.
“You know, the climate deniers are really in some ways similar to all of those almost 400 law enforcement officers in Uvalde, Texas, who were waiting outside an unlocked door while the children were being massacred,” Gore said during a July 24th interview on NBC’s Meet the Press. “They heard the screams, they heard the gunshots, and nobody stepped forward.” Gore then made the comparison to “inaction” in the face of the climate “global emergency.” He added that ”what we’re doing with our inaction and failing to walk through the door and stop the killing is not typical of what we are capable of as human beings.”
Al Gore and John Kerry are typical of the climate alarmists who use scaremongering to pressure Americans, already battered by skyrocketing inflation, into making more enormous economic sacrifices in the name of clean, fossil fuel-free energy. Meanwhile they use a much lighter touch with respect to China, the largest emitter of greenhouse gasses in the world by far.
A Berlin-based writer who has focused on renewable energy in Europe wrote an op-ed piece for CNN entitled “A very European answer to air conditioning,” which took aim at Americans for selfishly using air conditioning. “Americans could learn a thing or two from the rest of the world when it comes to habits,” Paul Hockenos wrote. “It is self-indulgent to insist on chilly temperatures in the middle of summer and rooms at t-shirt warmth in winter.”
The American people do not need to hear the opinions of Europeans on the morality of air conditioning, which many Europeans still consider to be a luxury they do not need. The European heat waves this summer so far have told a different story. The heat waves have already accounted for over 4,600 deaths in Portugal, Spain, Germany, and Great Britain, where the use of air conditioning is significantly rarer than it is in the United States.
Air conditioning saves lives. Indeed, according to a study published by Lancelot, “in the absence of air conditioning, an estimated 195400 more heat-related deaths would have occurred globally among people aged 65 years and older in 2019.” Air conditioning averted an estimated 47,800 deaths in the United States alone, where 92% of households had air conditioning. Europe was reported to be “the region most affected by heat-related mortality in people aged 65 years [and] older.”
The Lancelot study noted the need for improved air conditioning technology that would have less adverse impacts on the climate. But until such technology becomes available for commercial use, there is nothing self-indulgent about using the air conditioners of today to prevent heat-related deaths and illnesses.
The climate activists who are engaging in disruptive actions to make their point are not only annoying many people but, in some cases, could well be putting lives in jeopardy. Blocking highways and roads, for example, angers people who are prevented from reaching their destinations on schedule. Such disruptions could also make it impossible for ambulances to reach critically ill or wounded people in emergency situations and to get them to hospitals in time to save their lives. Meanwhile, the activists who force traffic to a standstill are contributing to global warming themselves as gas emissions increase from idled vehicles. But these activists do not care since they consider themselves to be heroic warriors for a fossil fuel-free future that they insist is needed to save civilization.
Some climate activists have glued themselves to famous paintings hanging in museums. Others have engaged in acts of vandalism, including someone who exclaimed “All artists, think about the Earth” after trying to smear the Mona Lisa with cake at the Louvre.
“I’m not willing to be marched to my death by the fossil fuel companies and their government puppets,” said one activist. “It is immoral for cultural institutions to stand by and watch whilst our society descends into collapse. Galleries should close. Directors of art institutions should be calling on the government to stop all new oil and gas projects immediately. We are either in resistance or we are complicit.”
Mel Carrington, a spokesperson for the British climate activist organization Just Stop Oil, which supports these protesters, admitted that the protesters are not trying to win any friends. Nor do they care what other people think of their disruptive methods. The climate militants just want more publicity for their cause on the premise that any publicity is better than no publicity.
Nadine Dorries, Britain’s culture minister, is not impressed by the militants’ publicity stunts. She said, as reported by the New York Times, that they are “attention seekers” who “aren’t helping anything other than their own selfish egos.” A museum visitor who witnessed one of the protests was not impressed either. Luciana Pezzotti, 65, a retired teacher from Italy, said that she cared about climate change and approved of protests. However, she could not help but wonder “why bother the art with that?”
Several Democrat congressional staffers staged a sit-in at Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer’s office on July 25th for the purpose of pressuring him to ram climate reform legislation through the Senate. “We, staffers of the US Congress, are peacefully sitting in on Sen. Schumer’s office to demand Dems pass climate justice policy this year,” the congressional staff protesters proclaimed in a statement. “We are putting our bodies on the line because we have no other choice,” they added. “Our country is nearing the end of a two-year window that represents a once-in-a-generation opportunity to pass transformative climate policy, we will not remain silent while we watch environmental catastrophe unfold before our eyes.”
Six of the staffers who invaded Senator Schumer’s office were arrested by the Capitol police. They should receive no less of a punishment than the nonviolent individuals who entered the Capitol building without authorization on January 6, 2021. At minimum, the staffers should be fired immediately. But none of that is likely to happen with a politically biased Justice Department and a sympathetic Democrat-controlled Congress that is in the grip of its left-wing progressive base.