Green Watch

“Greens” Scream Louder as the World Gets Better

If you’re alive today, you won the lottery. So why are environmental activists agitating for the most radical policies the world has ever seen?

To listen to die-hard environmentalists, you would think the planet is a pot about to boil, humanity is dangerously close to starvation, and everything can be saved by swapping out some coal plants for solar panels.

Reality isn’t even close.

The truth that so many on the Left don’t want us to hear is that there has never been a better time to live on Earth. More people are alive today than at any time before. Almost all of them are richer, better fed, and better clothed than their ancestors, with access to clean water, abundant electricity, and the technology to heat and cool their homes at will.

The numbers speak for themselves. Even accounting for the damage caused by COVID-19 and government shutdowns last year, global gross domestic product (GDP) per capita has risen from $445 (in current dollars) in 1960—when the world population was 3 billion people—to more than $11,000 today, with nearly 8 billion people on the Earth.

Famine, which used to kill tens of millions of people each decade, has been all but eradicated worldwide. While hundreds of millions remain undernourished in Asia and Africa, the total land used globally for food production has dropped since the 1960s even as the quantity of food grown has risen dramatically.

The greatest growth in freshwater consumption and energy use has been in developing countries, particularly in Asia. Electricity use has been historically linked to GDP growth, although that may be changing.

Then there are the hard-to-quantify boons in central heating and air conditioning brought by cheap electricity. Global warming fearmongerers warn of deadlier summers brought on by climate change. But the data show that the poor across the globe suffer more acutely from deadly winters than summer heat, with cold weather killing 20 times as many people as hot weather.

Westerners tend to forget what life is like without climate control systems, but only a generation ago Americans sweltered in summer and froze in winter. (It’s a common myth that 19th century British diplomats received hazard pay for being stationed in the oppressively hot District of Columbia; turn-of-the-century photographs of sleeping porches on the roof of the White House and congressional office buildings show how grounded in reality the myth is.)

Eco-activists also love to magnify the threat of extreme weather as a consequence of global warming, particularly where hurricanes and tsunamis scourge the poor in developing countries. In reality, extreme weather is inevitable at some point regardless of where one lives—just ask Texas.

Yet deaths from natural disasters—especially droughts—have fallen dramatically since the early 1900s, while new studies reveal “no notable changes” in tropical storm intensity, despite Al Gore’s warning the world in 2013 that we’ll soon have to expand the hurricane scale from 1-5 to include fantastical Category 6 storms.

Being an environmentalist means never having to say you’re sorry. It’s also the only job where there are no consequences for getting it wrong more often than the weatherman.

Good News for a Change

What you won’t hear in the media’s apocalyptic reports is that Greenland has gained record amounts of snow and ice in recent years. Contrast that with CNN’s headline from November: “Greenland’s glaciers could lose more ice than previously thought.”

Heatwaves are less frequent and milder than they were before the 1950s. Three-quarters of all states recorded their hottest temperatures before 1955, with the worst occurring during the 1930s when America was gripped by the Dust Bowl.

Liberal California is considering dumping its $230 per year subsidy for rooftop solar panels, a handout which overwhelmingly benefits the coastal rich. After 25 years, it’s time to let the solar industry stand on its own two feet without a taxpayer crutch.

Coal, whose epitaph was smugly engraved across liberal news sites in recent years, is rallying for the first time a decade or so. Why does that matter? Coal is America’s most-used energy resource, mined in 25 states and essential to the production of steel, cement, silicones, agricultural fertilizers, and activated carbon is used in air and water purification. Coal is a conservation hero—it stopped America’s forests from being turned into charcoal (the fate of Europe’s once vast primeval forests) and kerosene, or coal oil, saved the world’s whales from extinction.

We’re used to hearing climate-mongers’ doom and gloom. But few people are aware of the incredible “greening of the Earth” observed by NASA since the 1980s. The planet is getting greener thanks to carbon dioxide—plant food—and little wonder, considering CO2 is one of the main reasons why greenhouses grow plants so well.

If you’re alive today, you won the lottery. So why are environmental activists agitating for the most radical policies the world has ever seen?

Getting It Wrong for Longer Than I’ve Been Alive

Last month marked the 33rd year since NASA scientist James Hansen first testified before Congress about the greenhouse effect and the global warming it would cause, marking the beginning of the current climate craze.

Fast forward three decades to the Biden administration’s climate fundamentalism. Biden’s administration is already the most extreme on climate policy in U.S. history, even more than Obama’s—but that shouldn’t come as a surprise considering his campaign promised to prosecute and jail skeptics in the name of “environmental justice.” It’s worth pointing out that Hansen anticipated Biden when he told Congress 2008 that “[fossil fuel company] CEOs should be tried for high crimes against humanity and nature.”

Today’s eco-activists yearn for a World War II–style mobilization to make total war on an ever-changing climate. Congressional Democrats have proposed disinterring FDR’s Civilian Conservation Corps as a Civilian Climate Corps so our youth can learn to speak “antiracist language” while building wind turbines under labor union apprenticeships. Like the Soviet Union’s Young Communist League or the Third Reich’s Hitlerjugend, the primary aim is political indoctrination disguised as the public weal.

The list of absurdly wrong predictions made by environmental doomsayers since the birth of global warming is too epic to recount in detail, but the pattern of wild-eyed predictions is decades older still.

Today’s environmental movement is firmly rooted in the population control movement of the 20th century, when many of the West’s best and brightest decided they had to save the planet from (mostly foreign) overpopulation. That isn’t an exaggeration—the history of groups like the formerly anti-immigration Sierra Club and the misanthropic “philanthropy” of John D. Rockefeller III alike recount the mid-20th century’s obsession with overpopulation.

We’re still living with the fallout from that hubris. China’s one-child policy from the 1970s was as much an environmental measure as an economic one. Six years after the policy was lifted, the Chinese are not having nearly enough babies to keep up with retiring elders—the same set responsible for China’s incredible growth in the last two decades—who will soon massively outnumber the working young. The Chinese Communist Party is now urging its subjects to have as many as three children to stave off the country’s reckoning with its own disastrous policies.

Thus the world’s last great scientific consensus ends in the midst of the next. What will future generations conclude of our own elites’ arrogant decisions? God willing, we’ll survive their “solutions” long enough to find out.

Hayden Ludwig

Hayden Ludwig is a Senior Investigative Researcher at Capital Research Center. He is also a columnist at the Washington Free Beacon and writes regularly for The American Conservative. Ludwig is…
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