Radical environmentalist Bill McKibben now says the United States should officially declare a “war on global warming.” This war will involve sacrifice. It will involve punishing enemies. It will involve making leftists into dictators and citizens into subjects. But it must be done, because otherwise, Dennis Quaid and Jake Gyllenhaal will have to swim through New York. Or something.
McKibben writes in The New Republic:
In the North this summer, a devastating offensive is underway. Enemy forces have seized huge swaths of territory…. In the Pacific this spring, the enemy staged a daring breakout across thousands of miles of ocean, waging a full-scale assault on the region’s coral reefs….Day after day, week after week, saboteurs behind our lines are unleashing a series of brilliant and overwhelming attacks….The enemy is even deploying biological weapons to spread psychological terror…World War III is well and truly underway. And we are losing.
The cost, says McKibben: The death of millions of innocent civilians.
McKibben is talking about the rising global temperature, folks. More specifically, he’s talking about our real enemies, inanimate materials like carbon and methane.
McKibben wants a war on these materials. A literal war, he assures us: “We’re used to war as metaphor: the war on poverty, the war on drugs, the war on cancer…But this is no metaphor.”
So, where should we aim the guns? He acknowledges it’s rather tough to defeat “an enemy as powerful and inexorable as the laws of physics.” But war is war, and we must treat this war as we treated World War II. No Neville Chamberlain-esque surrenders to the climate – no, what is needed is action, and forthwith!
What is needed, says McKibbon, is a “mighty Manhattan Project.” What does that look like? Complete conversion to solar panels to generate energy, replacement of all the cars on the planet with electric cars, and use of wind turbines to generate electricity for cities. McKibben wants wealth confiscated to build huge numbers of factories for such creations, and to force industry to build those factories. McKibben wants Hillary Clinton to ban all drilling and mining on public lands and waters, restrict methane emissions, and killing oil projects. And he says that we will thrive if we just give government that sort of power: “Gearing up to stop global warming would provide a host of social and economic benefits, just as World War II did.”
McKibben conveniently ignores that declarations of war also require persecuting perceived enemies. What will he do with the oil companies? Will he empower the government to jail those who undermine the “war effort” by driving cars or utilizing fossil fuels? Will dissenters be tried for sedition? Will we go to war with China and India to force them to comply with climate change treaties? What happens when the world economy tanks thanks to massive transfer of wealth toward inefficient technologies?
Like Paul Ehrlich before him, McKibben preaches doom and gloom with full certainty, even though the science is far from settled on both the scope of global warming’s threat and the possibility of hampering global warming by destroying global industry.
But there’s something deeper going on, too: the left worships big government collectivization efforts, and they’ll use nearly any excuse to push for them. It’s easy to look back fondly at World War II as a boom time, but it required the forcible drafting and billeting of hundreds of thousands of Americans and the rationing of basic goods for Americans. Forcible nationalization of major industries can only be excused during war – but the left loves nationalization, and therefore calls for a decades-long war on a force of nature, with no end in sight. Then they have the temerity to complain about the cost of war in Iraq. The same left that claims that George W. Bush lied us into a war will now stretch the available evidence to declare certain doom if we do not cripple our economy, regulate individual lives, and nationalize industries.
Perhaps before we do any of that, we ought to see at least a few years of consistency between computer modeling and the actual temperature data. Or perhaps we ought to adjust to the possibility that the climate isn’t entirely within human beings’ control.