Global Warming from a Freedomist Perspective

Bill Collier- In an article on the 8th of February, Christopher Booker of the UK Telegraph lambasted “global warming” and “climate change” science, joining a growing chorus of critics who accuse scientists of skewing data to prove their theory. Indeed, the fault line for the “global warming” debate is ideological and political, not “scientific.”

Critics of the global warming theorists point out that their solutions often lean heavily toward a top-down global “collectivist” approach. Some use the word “Socialist” to describe the global warming theorists.  Even efforts by non-collectivists to produce a free market approach to effect reductions in “carbon emissions” have been rejected- evidently, critics point out, global warming can only be dealt with by resorting to some form of global collectivism that is managed by a small group of ‘experts.’

This begs the question as to what is or isn’t collectivism and whether critics are “red baiting”, but the fact the argument has come down to the alleged ideology of the proponents of the global warming theory seems to reveal that the “science” has taken a back seat to ideology, on both sides. Only time will tell if accusations against the “science” behind the global warming theory are true and founded.

For years, efforts to clean our air and produce what is called “sustainability” have been based on “global warming.” We were told that “in order to prevent global warming, we must reduce pollutants and we must focus on sustainability.” Sustainability is a move towards locally renewable or recyclable raw materials and alternative energy all of which have a “light footprint” on the environment.

Partially as a result of this fear compelling people to seek such solutions, these sustainable solutions, including alternative energy, have come down in costs. More and more advances are coming along making wind, solar, and other forms of sustainable energy solutions affordable to average people. Alternative building techniques, which city codes are still catching up to, such as cobb and straw bale construction, can so reduce building costs as to make adding on wind and solar power generation to each home quite within reach of average people.

Sustainability and clean air are tied almost inextricably to “global warming” and if, whether it is fair or not to do so, the whole theory of global warming is rejected by most people, then it may also be that concerns of clean air and efforts to create more self-sustaining communities will suffer the same fate. The picture of large plumes of soot-smoke pouring into the sky from factories and coal fired power plants will no longer concern people who believe that this has not impact on “climate change.”

One city has become the poster child for a move away from fossil fuels and toward sustainability- Peking. Here is a city which has days of such heavy pollution that people are forbidden to go outside, and rare is the day when the “fog” lifts enough for you to actually clearly see the city skyline.  Perhaps all that smog will not do one thing to tick the global temperature up, but one can certainly argue that this smog is not good for the people, the plants, or the animals of Peking.

A precipitous rush away from fossil fuels towards sustainable energy is economically harmful, it is argued, and with some serious questions emerging about the science behind global warming, it may be tempting to drop the whole move toward sustainability altogether. The current EPA rules regarding coal-fired power plants are driven almost totally by global warming fears, for instance. While it may be argued that the EPA is moving too far, too fast, and all in the name of something fewer and fewer people believe is a real threat, the truth is that there are other good reasons to consider pushing forward, even if at a more reasonable and far less disruptive pace, with sustainable energy solutions.

Sustainable local energy is energy from locally renewable raw materials which local people, at the household level, are mostly in ownership control over. It means that the community, down to the individual homes and businesses, owns and controls its own energy resources and that the use of those resources has little to no negative impact on their air, water, or natural environment in general. Far from being only about global warming, it is about empowerment and it is about clean air, water, and an overall pristine natural environment being left to future generations.

Such solutions, however, are not proposed by many global warming theorists. Often their solutions focus on “one big system”, or “OBS”. OBS looks like this: a giant solar and/or wind farm owned and controlled by a corporation or government that distributes power through a nationally interconnected “smart grid” that charges consumers, you and I, high costs for energy. This is already happening and anyone who pays electricity bills knows all about this.

Sustainable local energy focuses on empowering individuals to become individually “energy independent”, at least in their household, by freeing them to use better and less expensive building techniques to shift the cost of building a home from the building to its energy and waste removal infrastructure.

Sustainable local energy is empowerment.  It puts more wealth, more resources, and more control in the hands of the individual and removes much of the “middle man” fat of governments and corporations which currently control our energy.

As the debate over global warming devolves into politics and ideology, if people genuinely reject this theory, then it is possible they will reject and be suspicious of anything associated with it, including efforts to pursue cleaner air and sustainability in general, which are rewarding and beneficial even if global warming were conclusively proven to be a total myth. The danger here is that we will continue, as individuals and communities, to rely on OBS, whether OBS is sustainable or not sustainable, and we, as individuals, are thus rendered “dependent” on OBS rather than ourselves and our neighbors.