by Gary Alexander
June 21, 2023
As the summer driving season officially begins – today being the first day of summer – a smoky haze has descended over much of Canada and the Northern half of America. If you’re up for a vacation drive this weekend or July 4th, do like a half dozen of my relatives have done and come visit Western Washington, or drive to the Southeastern states – where high humidity sure beats choking on smoke – or fly overseas.
The problem is that you must burn some fossil fuel to make those trips, and our President just told an environmental group last week that climate change “is the only truly existential threat. It’s the existential threat. If we don’t meet the requirements that we’re looking at, we’re in real trouble.”
I wondered if the President forgot for a moment the possibility of nuclear war over the Ukrainian conflict with Russia – which controls more nuclear weapons than any other nation, including us – or the threat of an electro-magnetic pulse (EMP), which could be either natural or terrorist- or state-sponsored, which could wipe out our entire electric grid for months, maybe a year, killing perhaps the majority of us.
I don’t want to alarm anybody by adding more “existential” threats to the list, but there may be 10 worse things to worry about than climate change. What could happen when our $32 trillion debt soars to $50 trillion in the next decade, if no politician finds a backbone? How about the unintended ecological disaster the green police will force on us from mining rare minerals for EV car batteries, solar panels, and wind turbines, or the deaths from cold winters when those panels and turbines fail to deliver the necessary power in winter? And there could be another COVID pandemic, only worse. That was more “existential” than climate fears. A few inches increase in sea level, or maybe 1 to 2 degrees warming – IF that happens – is not our top “existential” threat, much less the only one. Even more alarmingly, our Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin talks about the “existential threat” of climate change when he should focus on our military.
But back to our President’s talk: Biden told a 4-Pinocchio whopper that never made it on the Washington Post’s list of Pinocchio lies, and got miniscule press coverage (that I could find), only an opening riff on the Larry Kudlow show on Fox Business News, and a Kudlow follow-up column in the New York Sun.
In his speech last week, President Biden blamed us, the American people, as the world’s worst polluters:
“Here’s the bottom line,” the President said, “we’re the ones that caused the problem — the United States. We cleared all our land. We did all the things that — to make our — make things more easy for us to make money. Not a bad thing at the time. No one really fully understood. But we, the major emitters in the world, have an obligation to help those countries.”
*Lest you think I may be taking any of these quotes out of context, here is a link to the complete text:
Remarks by President Biden at the League of Conservation Voters Annual Capital Dinner | The White House
No, Mr. President. America generally plants trees so that we can harvest them, but China, under Mao, cut down most of their trees to build backyard furnaces in the Great Leap Forward and Cultural Revolution to melt farm tools into bullets to kill capitalists. The core of China is now a virtual desert, as is much of Asia and the Sahara and other lands. We have made ecological mistakes in the past, but we generally learn from our mistakes. We conserve resources through ownership of assets, and owners grow their assets.
Here is the culprit, Mr. President, if you dare speak ill of our #1 global opponent (hint: it’s not Russia).
Notice the clean air in Japan, next door to China. When it comes to the largest net reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the last measurable decade, the U.S. rises to the top of the list, by a long distance, followed by Germany and Japan – the third and fourth largest economies in the world – but the worst CO2 “pollution” comes from China (the #2 global economy), so a relevant question by the press would be, “We’re doing our part, Mr. President. What pressure are you putting on China to do their part?”
The U.S. is the largest reducer of CO2 emissions of any nation, by far:
Despite China’s obvious failures, they talk a good talk and have fooled many green zealots into lauding their efforts and condemning the U.S., especially after the Trump administration refused to sign the Paris accords. But which would you rather have – a nation that is cleaning up its air and water but refuses to buckle under to global bureaucrats, or a nation that promises cleaner air and water but keeps polluting?
In his speech last week, our President slandered his fellow Americans instead of challenging China and India to do better, as an American leader has the right and obligation to do – to challenge our opponents.
Amazingly, not one major press outlet caught the President in this gross misstatement of fact. Also, the President was speaking to some presumed experts on the environment. Didn’t they know the facts? Why didn’t one of these contributors in the audience ask the President what he intended to do about China?
Turning to the investment angle, it looks like ESG (environmental, social, and governance) has lost its “mojo,” if it ever had any. From an investment perspective, ESG never quite took off, but it’s now no longer a magic formula in earnings conference calls. Company mentions of green and social initiatives during earnings calls have fallen off sharply in recent quarters, reversing a previously boastful approach.
To close with a laugh, the President also delivered his daily gaffe when he went off script and admitted doing so: “We have plans to build a railroad from the Pacific all the way across the Indian Ocean. We have plans to build in — in Angola one of the largest solar plants in the world. I can go on, but I’m not. I’m going off-script. I’m going to get in trouble.” Here’s what he was proposing, in map form:
Can’t wait for that railroad across the ocean, that massive solar panel in Angola…and a new President.
I’m being partly whimsical. I am doing my part to combat global warming – if it remains a serious threat. I only fly once or twice a year; I drive less than 4,000 miles a year and telecommute via the Internet. I live on 5.25 shady acres, of which five acres are oxygen-spewing Cedars and Douglas Firs, so I’ve got a huge Oxygen-positive footprint, while many global warming zealots own multiple mansions and fly private jets to conferences to scold us. I will place my bet on mankind, capitalism, and economic growth. More specifically, I believe we will solve energy challenges through technology, inventions, and free markets.