The continuing, unprovoked, genocidal invasion of Ukraine by Russian armed forces is a direct consequence of President Biden’s projection of weakness on the world stage and his destructive and masochistic war against the fossil fuel industry. Biden is quick to shift the blame to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine for the rise in oil prices, and inflation generally, but this is a flat out lie. Gasoline prices under Biden rose 48% before the invasion began and have only increased as the war against fossil fuels left us more dependent on foreign imports. Record rates of inflation, produced by massive deficit spending, have created a perfect storm of misery for American consumers, particularly those on fixed incomes.
Biden and Democrats in Congress are clearly in thrall to the radical Greens and extremists within their own party. Biden’s policies have reversed the energy independence we achieved under President Trump, and placed the United States in the embarrassing position of crawling to hostile regimes to supply the energy we are perfectly capable of producing for ourselves. Putin can smell weakness and the stench coming from the White House has emboldened him.
For years, the Russians have been funding radical Green groups in Europe and the United States as part of a calculated effort to stop their host countries from developing their own fossil fuel resources, including those from fracking. And the radical Greens are doing Putin’s bidding. The goal is to create energy disruption and make the West, and particularly Europe, dependent upon Russian imports. The Russians and Chinese are laughing all the way to the bank as we continue this masochistic war against our own fossil fuels.
Despite the mainstream media portraying him as a moderate prior to the election, the easily cowed Biden has proven himself to be the most radical President in American history. Nowhere has this radicalism been more clearly manifest than by his disastrous hostility to the fossil fuel industry. This hostility is a reflection of his obeisance to the radical Green movement and his own scientific illiteracy. In a matter of months, Biden took us from our position as a net exporter of energy to that of an energy importer. In a hostile world in which energy can be weaponized, this is insanity.
This campaign centers on the demonization of carbon dioxide, which the left ludicrously believes is the primary driver of global warming, or, as it is now termed, “climate change,” often preceded by the words “existential threat of” to intensify the fear factor. But “climate change” has never been an “existential threat,” nor will it be. This is pure political hyperbole designed to drive scientifically illiterate voters into the arms of a cynical and power-hungry Democrat Party.
The claim that we have only until 2030 to save the earth is not only pure fantasy, it mirrors dozens of prior prognostications of doom over the past 60 years advanced by far-left politicians and activists, like Paul Ehrlich and Al Gore, none of which have materialized. Sadly, the indoctrination has had particular success among naïve young people who are fed this radical Green religion in classrooms across the world, many of whom now suffer from depression or thoughts of suicide under the misguided belief that they have no future. In Guilford, CT, where I live, some teachers have even taken to asking students to report on their parents’ “carbon footprint,” as if they were youth cohorts of a totalitarian regime. This is encouraged by our CRT-loving school superintendent, Paul Freeman, and a teachers’ union joined at the hip to the Democrat Party. It’s just one of the reasons why we now homeschool our granddaughter.
Biden’s hostility to fossil fuels is a manifestation of scientific illiteracy on steroids, and it preys on many Americans’ ignorance of basic scientific facts. As Discovery News researchers discovered in 2014, one in four Americans believes the sun revolves around the earth. And Smithsonian magazine reported that only one in five Americans knows which gas makes up most of the earth’s atmosphere (it’s nitrogen at 78.09%). The others are oxygen (20.95%), and argon (0.93%), with carbon dioxide taking up a mere 0.04% (420 parts in a million). You can blame our failing public schools for much of this. Moreover, water vapor is the earth’s most abundant greenhouse gas. The anthropogenic contribution of CO2 from the burning fossil fuels is a minor climate driver. In fact, the earth has gone through temperature swings far more significant in centuries past before we even began using fossil fuels for energy, transportation, and manufacturing. Isolating the role of carbon dioxide on global temperatures is difficult enough without the intrusion of power hungry politicians who use it as a weapon to scare the population.
Climate has always been driven by several hundred factors, almost all natural and cyclical, interacting in complex ways, chief among them solar output, the earth’s positional relationship to the sun over lengthy cycles (e.g. the Milankovitch Cycles), its elliptical orbit, axial tilt, precession wobble, and the effect of cosmic rays on cloud cover chief among them. The Earth produces 186 billion tons of carbon dioxide per year. Of that total, 90 billion tons are from biologic activity in the oceans and 90 billion tons are from volcanoes and decaying plant life. Only 6 billion tons (3%) is from human activity. From these many factors, CO2 was singled out for one reason: because it can be used as a vehicle for gaining government control over our energy sector and, through it, the lives of every American. In fact, if every human being on the face of the earth died tomorrow, and with it all industrial and transportation activity, scientists estimate that 99.84% of the observable greenhouse effects would continue unabated. Yet, for this, we are being asked to upend our entire energy sector, destroy our economy, and sacrifice our freedom.
What is lost in this discussion is the fact that carbon dioxide is not a “pollutant” at all, but a miracle molecule and plant food that makes life on earth possible. It’s what we all exhale. Higher CO2 levels, whether in the atmosphere or greenhouses, provide enhanced photosynthesis, and biomass production for practically every form of plant life. It is a critical tool in the effort to address hunger, malnutrition, species extinction and habitat loss across the globe (something the uninformed and hysterical Greta Thunberg rails against). To label carbon dioxide “pollution” or “carbon pollution” is to conflate it with real sources of air pollution, including carbon monoxide, hydrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, particulate matter, and volatile organic compounds.
Net primary agricultural productivity rose an average of 27% between 1895 and 2007, most of it after 1950 due to rising CO2 levels. If CO2 levels, now 420 parts per million, fell back to those that existed prior to the modern Industrial Revolution (290 ppm in 1870), as many Greens mindlessly desire, we would witness mass starvation, unprecedented economic devastation, and myriad other negative consequences, particularly if the sun enters a predicted cooling phase. And what many don’t realize is that if carbon dioxide levels fell to 150 ppm, all plant life would die and, with it, the earth’s animal and human populations. In fact, one of the reasons why life was “nasty, brutish and short” in earlier centuries was that low CO2 levels limited food production. Moreover, the scientific proxy data over the past 600 million years reveals that the rise in carbon dioxide follows warming, not the other way around. Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy once famously said “all you have to know about global warming is 400,” meaning 400 ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. This is a statement of mind-boggling scientific illiteracy, but one which exposes the Democrats’ thinking and political calculus on the issue. And, revealingly, even if globally averaged temperatures rose 2 degrees F, few would even detect the difference. Millions routinely retire to Florida and other Southern states for significantly higher temperatures and have adapted quite nicely.
The near unanimity of the Democrat Party on this issue is a calculated effort to generate unfounded fear among the population for the purpose of driving uninformed voters into their arms. If fully implemented, this agenda would also constitute the greatest case of economic masochism in American history, with some radical socialist Greens advocating expenditure of upwards of $90 trillion to combat a largely manufactured problem. And while those mind-numbing numbers are designed to destroy the fossil fuel industry, they would also bankrupt the nation by setting the federal printing presses into overdrive. If we think inflation is bad now, wait until we start printing trillions more dollars we don’t have to pay for this insanity. Consider that for far less--$150 billion a year according to the World Bank—the world could provide universal clean water to vulnerable populations around the globe, something we have yet to do.
There is certainly a place in our energy future for alternative forms of energy as a part of free market-based energy mix. However, unproven and costly technologies must not be prematurely foisted on the population by government edict in advance of their being proven by market competition to be superior and less costly alternatives. As the market accepts these alternative technologies, we could, presumably, naturally transition away from fossil fuels, but not before. Even if one accepts the snake oil science that Democrats peddle that carbon dioxide is a “pollutant,” our transition to natural gas has already reaped substantial benefits in the form of a cleaner atmosphere. We must not repeat Europe’s disastrous experiences by replacing nuclear and fossil fuels with wind and solar farms which have not only failed to deliver, but have to be backed up by fossil fuels and have their own serious negative impacts (e.g. wind generators as avian cuisinarts). Instead, we have unnecessarily driven up energy costs, particularly for the poor and vulnerable populations on fixed incomes. In fact, the Germans and Poles are now reverting to the feudal era by scrounging the forests for wood to burn, and the Brits are burning books.
Republicans, in particular, need to take a stronger stand against this demonization of carbon dioxide which drives the Biden administration’s energy policy. Letting the Democrats control the agenda on this critical issue will cause incalculable harm to the American economy and to those at all socio-economic levels, as historically high inflation levels already attest. And, as Alex Epstein projects in his book, Fossil Future, the effort to prematurely ban fossil fuels will cause the death of billions, most of them black and brown people in the developing world. I call that racist. What choice would you make?
Kendall Svengalis is President of New England LawPress and author of thirty books, including the award winning Legal Information Buyer’s Guide & Reference Manual (now in its 25th edition), A Layperson’s Guide to Legal Research and Self-Help Law Books, and two SAT vocabulary-building, WWII espionage novels aimed at minority youth. He is retired as the RI State Law Librarian and adjunct professor of Library and Studies at the University of RI.