The French president, Emmanuel Macron, recently warned that the Western world had reached “the end of the age of abundance.” He did not specify at what date or at what hour this singular event occurred, but with strict rules coming into place in France and elsewhere in Europe (and California) for use of electricity, apparently, the age of lacking has already begun.
The French president would appear to be the heir apparent in the line from Thomas Robert Malthus through Paul Ehrlich that posited that the world cannot sustain so many people and catastrophic events including mass starvation and death must necessarily ensue. The failure of Malthusian predictions to come true has always been the result of applied technology. Malthus’ predictions and those of Ehrlich were based on static views of society and its capabilities. They never could factor in large increases in crop yields or better hygiene, yet when better methods of farming became available, the inevitable famines and mass death never occurred. One would expect the same to be true of President Macron’s somber declaration, but the one difference is that today’s society refuses to deploy all of the technology at its disposal.
Two years ago, the United States was energy independent for the first time in decades. The US produced huge amounts of gas and oil, and cheap energy prices led to large growth in energy-intensive businesses and lower prices for consumers for everything from eggs to cars. With the rise of the ideological Biden administration coupled with a green-focused Europe, the western world faces a very serious energy shortage—completely the result of political and ideological choices made in the name of a supposed “energy emergency.” In California, all future cars sold will be based on anything other than gasoline; yet within a week officials told residents not to charge their electric cars due to an extreme lack of electricity in the state. This would be high comedy coming out of Hollywood if it did not mean that many people who bought into the green dream may find themselves as stuck at home as they were during the height of the Covid lockdowns. In Europe, business signs go off between 1 am and 6 am to save electricity. Citizens are encouraged to use fans and not air conditioners. As natural gas stocks are low due to Russian actions with the Nordstream pipeline, Europeans are looking at the prospect of a very cold and miserable winter. Germany is already planning public buildings where people can go to warm up. This is from a “first world” country. The price of electricity on the continent has gone up exponentially. But why? Is there an energy shortage? Yes. Does there have to be an energy shortage? No. Macron is no more right than Malthus was, but he has the ideological support to keep energy out of the reach of citizens and truly realize his world lacking abundance.
It is by choice that the US, England and other countries that harbor large amounts of gas choose not to frack and extract it. Europe could solve its problems by generating more electricity from nuclear, which used to be the backbone of French and German power production. The US could increase gas and oil production to drive down fuel prices, guarantee enough heating oil for winter, and provide Europe the liquid natural gas it needs to make up for losses from Russia. The Europeans could also push Ukraine to settle its war with Russia to return regular gas flows from Russia if they can’t wean themselves off of Russian gas. But in all cases, these steps are not taken—and not because of any technological limitation but solely due to ideological considerations, from the supposed climate emergency to the desire to punish Putin, even if it means Germans freezing to death in their apartments.
When the Netherlands attempted to enforce the World Economic Forum (WEF) policy of reduced nitrogen fertilizers, it was based on the same thinking regarding potential damage to the environment, dutch farmers, their livelihoods, and their herds be damned. But is there really a climate emergency that for the first time in history checkmates technology that could make life better and more comfortable? As a scientist, I do not see enough data to truly suggest that human activity is the driver of any change in climate. Natural phenomena play much larger and more powerful roles in climate, and human contributions are small compared to them. But for the sake of argument, let’s pretend that everything that know-nothings like John Kerry and Prince Charles spout is true. The fact that the Chinese and the Indians, having the two largest populations in the world, are not reducing their emissions means only one thing: the pain and destruction that the West is willfully forcing upon its populations will have no impact on total carbon emissions. Those two countries alone are building on average a new coal-fired electricity generating plant every two weeks. They are determined to move as much of their poor population into the middle class and offer them cars, air conditioners, and the comforts of modern life that President Macron claims are now gone. So even if there was a climate emergency, Western self-destruction will lead to barely a rounding error in any change in gas emissions and distant future temperature changes.
Instead of it being an end to the age of abundance, maybe it should be an end to the age of politicians and their enablers who put their people on the altar of the green new deal but personally feel no pain. Do you think that Mr. Macron will not have air conditioning in the Élysée Palace or any of the wonderful delicacies to which he is accustomed? Didn’t President Obama buy two houses just next to the oceans that are supposed to devour them? Didn’t Steven Spielberg and other Hollywood stars put millions of pounds of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere through their truly unnecessary private planes? My feeling is that if G-d has given a person wealth, he should enjoy it—big house on the beach, a private plane for traveling with comfort and ease. But don’t lecture us on our barbecues, air conditioners and SUVs. The end of abundance is meant for us and certainly not for them. As my kids always point out, people voted for these people whose incompetence and rigid ideology have led to supply chain disruptions, sky-high energy prices, painful inflation, and now energy shortages. If you wish again to enjoy the abundance that comes with cheap energy which is available, the time has come to vote and choose only those candidates who want to make your life better and not poorer and more miserable.
Reprinted From Townhall.